Wide awake and winning with coffee
IF NATHAN BYRON is anything to go by, 20 cups of coffee a day is the recipe for success.
The 26-year-old this year took out the greatest number of awards at Australia’s most prestigious coffee roasting competition, the Golden Bean.
But the latest medallions – silver for filter coffee and bronze for retail filter, organic espresso, and Australian grown – in his now sizeable collection are just the latest in a young career that has leapt from success to success.
Mr Byron, who grew up on his father’s coffee farm in Newrybar, was the overall Golden Bean winner in 2007.
“This year I got the most medals out of anyone, which is good,” he said in the coffee-soaked heat of hisAlstonville roasting rooms and cafe.
“There were 700 entries this year, compared to about 400 last year. It’s basically the Australian championships. All the big firms enter.”
What Mr Byron’s business, Nat’s Coffee, lacks in size it makes up for in quality and diversity.
He supplies to eight cafes in Lismore, Ballina, Byron Bay and Murwillumbah, teaches up-and-coming baristas the art of coffee making, and gives classes in coffee tasting.
This means he consumes a large amount of coffee every day.
“I’m always tasting it,” Mr Byron said. “On tasting days I might haveover 20 coffees.”
His passion for caffeine started in earnest at school.
“A few things I did in high school got me into the coffee trade and got me into roasting,” he said.
And his father, Paul Byron, is as proud as punch.
“There’s no one else in the world who’s as good as him now,” Mr Byron senior said.
The Golden Bean championships, held this year in Port Macquarie, attracted 170 Australian coffee roasters from Queensland, NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and Norfolk Island.