Every few weeks, we visit the working studio of a creative company and make some drinks with them at the end of the week. This week we dropped in to visit the coffee roasters at Small Batch.
Small Batch is one of Melbourne’s most celebrated speciality coffee roasters. Headed up by Andrew Kelly, Aaron Wood and Allan Huang, the team import green beans and roast them in their fancy new warehouse in North Melbourne.
Kelly is also the man behind the wildly popular Auction Rooms, which is soon to be joined by a new takeaway neighbour called Counter.
We got together with the guys after a long day on the beans, mixed some old favourites and trialled some new inventions.
Does the team at Auction Rooms take time to hang out together often?
Andy: It’s a cliché of course, but we mostly drink coffee together. We’re always talking about roast profiles and what is a perfect roast: what degree of the acidity, what finish, what flavour, those sort of things. For every coffee we roast, it’s the same sort of discussion.
Do you think it’s important to you to take some time out together after a busy day at work?
Allan: It’s important, because you really get to engage with the other people [you work with]. Once you step out of the door a little bit, you’re more likely to hold your hand out. You’re more likely to empathise with one another.
Andy: We don’t hang out enough. We’re totally earnest with our coffee at the moment. It has been bloody hard work at the moment. So we’re making Friday nights drinks night.
Which bars in Melbourne do you really love?
Andy: The only place I want to drink at is the Everleigh. The American styling of it really appeals to me.
What do you think is so important about the design of a cafe or a bar?
Andy: Do we think about it, or do we feel it? It’s a bit annoying in that sense. It’s about conveying the right warmth.
What do you guys like to make for yourselves when you’re having a drink?
Andy: A whiskey and rye.
Aaron: An Old Fashioned at the moment is all I want. Half a teaspoon of sugar, a dash of Angostura bitters, a couple of drops of water just to dissolve the sugar, then two shots of whiskey…
Andy: Two shots?
Aaron: Two shots. Then just mix it through.
With the Small Batch team we mixed some classic Vodka Tonics and tried out a coffee concoction mixed through the aeropress.
Squeeze lime wedge
Top with ice
Top with tonic
Garnish with lime wedge
50ml rum with a shot of coffee
10ml Pedro Ximenez sherry
2 dashes angostura bitters
Sugar to taste if required (can use whole sugar and allow to dissolve, like an Old Fashioned)
Add ice and stir down
Garnish with orange peel