Get on the Black Drum beat
Marching to the beat of our own drum since 2013, Black Drum Roasters delivers a coffee experience like no other. Born from a meeting of minds between master roaster and CEO Scott Jones and head of training and development Kevin Crouse, we've continued as we started: combining roasting expertise with customer-focused delivery.
Our Blacktown HQ is where the beat kicks in. Here we've brought together our passion for specialty coffee with the know-how of getting this to market. Whether it is carefully crafting this month's single origin or innovating with the latest in packaging technology, Black Drum's processes ensure that the unique flavour profiles of the coffee beans that we source can be tasted in each cup.
While Blacktown is ticking like a metronome, our rhythms are unequivocally global. Individuals from across our organisation regularly head back to source in order to build the partnerships that define who we are. Coffee is much more than a commodity and from bean to cup we ensure that each step in the process is treated with the respect it deserves.
But what's a rhythm without melody? At Black Drum we are always focused on getting the blend right and listening to our customers for constant feedback. Whether you're after the strict 4/4, want to get with the lively 6/8 or waltz to a 3/4, the tune that matches our beat comes from our connections with cafes, baristas and coffee drinkers.
Consistency in the exceptional is what keeps us tapping along, because at Black Drum - There is no rehearsal.
The Black Drum Team
Founder, Master Roaster, CEO
Founder, master roaster and CEO Scott Jones has worn a few hats. While working in accounting for a large multinational, Scott gave into a friend's suggestion that he move into coffee and hasn't looked back since. Having worked as a packer, roaster, delivery driver and book-keeper what drew him to coffee initially was the relationships that form over coffee and that's what drives Scott at Black Drum Roasters.
During his time leading Black Drum Roasters, Scott has been able to develop relationships with farmers and the supporters and distributors of the green bean, bring new people into the roasting industry while building their skills and knowledge and refine the tastes of customers. Having been in the industry since 1986, Scott has seen Australia move from tea to filter coffee, to espresso and now to specialty coffee with an attention to unique origins and flavour profiles. Scott is now developing this further, experimenting with cold brew techniques that remove the need for one of coffee's until now fundamental ingredients, hot water.
What makes this dedication pay off is the light that Scott sees go on when people discover the flavour profiles in their coffee, what Scott describes as "taking them on a journey to understand what they're tasting." For as much as coffee has been drunk for centuries it is this experimentation with the cutting edge of technology that keep Black Drum beating.
"What we're experiencing with trying different crafts and technologies is unlocking the flavours that are there."
Directing the journey from bean to cup.
Head of Training and Innovation
Our head trainer Kevin is a bit of a romantic, especially when you get him talking about coffee. Kevin's first dates with his wife were over coffee at small cafes playing backgammon and since then he has opened his own cafe that saw love and inspiration flourish between its walls. Whether that has been a space for exhibiting artists, performing musicians or passing on a passion for coffee through barista training, Kevin's dedication to the power of coffee is infectious.
While you might have seen him behind the machine in Parramatta in Western Sydney, Kevin has also been able to take his approach world-wide, training students in Michigan about social enterprise and speaking with people in Kenya and Tanzania in Swahili, unlocking relationships through coffee. He's even taken his passion to the stratosphere, making kalita, espresso and aeropress on planes, always adjusting for the perfect brew.
As Kevin himself says "I want to make a difference in people's lives, and coffee has been my platform."
If you've wondered how every bag of Black Drum Roasters coffee comes to you in consistently optimum conditions and performs highly every time it's production manager Joel Minnich who has your answer. In his own words Joel knows a bit too much about Black Drum but for us, that's a blessing. Like Matt Damon stuck on Mars, Joel is sciencing the shit out of coffee roasting and understanding that every bean is unique.
Starting out as a volunteer at Kevin's café while on a tourist visa from the US, Joel fell in love with coffee and realised that there was more out there than the American coffee that he had been used to, drowned in syrup and cream. Now Joel's eyes light up when talking about the fruitiness of Kenyan origin beans that wow him on the first sip. This doesn't come by chance, it's the product of Joel's dedication to monitoring every milisecond of the roasting process through the latest technology.
After finishing school Simon got straight behind coffee machines but his dream was always to be behind the scenes, involved with the process of roasting. Now, he's living that dream. Knowing what it's like to be at the other end of the chain, Simon sees his role as working with the baristas that we supply to get the best out of the coffee.
This sees Simon in to our factory first, and among a business of early risers, Simon is the earliest. Opening the door at 5am, Simon gets the day started while blasting The Cure through the warehouse. Working across three different roasting machines, Simon is able to produce for our customers large and small, always maintaining the Black Drum reputation for excellence.
Simon's dream was to be behind the scenes, and now, he's living that dream
If you were unsure whether coffee could be a life changing experience then you'd only have to ask our roaster and machine maintenance head John. Having never drunk coffee before, his brew of choice is now a strong latte. Being with the machines each day has led to John enjoying the roasting and tasting process of coffee, which can be down to a fine art.
Ensuring that the different origins and flavours are imparted to the coffee that we love, John makes sure that the roasters run smoothly everyday.
John had never drunk coffee!!
Peter Andrews doesn't sit still for long. Between the Black Drum office connecting with clients, to getting in the roasting room to experiment, or out on the road helping cafes and barista make coffee better, faster and more consistently, Pete is on the move. If you're lucky you might even catch him working on his side project to improve decaf coffee for those who love the flavour but don't need the caffeine hit.
This never settle attitude allows Pete to spur us at Black Drum to never be afraid of change as we constantly update our blends and roast profiles based on the feedback that Pete is giving us. As Pete puts it "Black Drum is big enough where you can understand the full scope of the coffee industry but small enough that you can be creative and experiment with coffee."
Quinton De Sousa
Having moved from the factory floor into sales, Quinton De Sousa understands the journey that coffee goes through. Now, being part of the sales team and going out and meeting with clients, Quinton knows how to satisfy a customer's demand. This comes from building the relationship with the individual who is going to be the ultimate beneficiary of the product, while also taking into account the needs of the provider.
Quinton's own relationship with coffee is about connecting with people. In tune with his Portuguese heritage, where coffee is the first social lubricant that people turn to, Quinton had been drinking cups of 'bica' all his life. Now, coffee is a moment to relax, an espresso after dinner or with breakfast in the morning.
This is all encapsulated in Quinton's view that "coffee is not just a bean."
Head of Creative
Moving between creative and sales gives our creative director Toni a unique insight into exceptional coffee. This means that it’s not just about making the coffee look good but about making sure that we don't follow what everybody else is doing but set the trends that other will follow.
From hiking kilometres through coffee plantations in Kenya to following the washing procedures, Toni brings his experience with coffee that's imbued into his pores to every creative decision. Having seen how Australian coffee culture is changing the way that coffee drinking is happening in places from New York to Berlin and Tokyo, Toni is pushing Black Drum here at home to keep innovating and pushing for change.
If Toni could sum up his approach it would be "don't be afraid to change things, don't follow all the rules."
Coffee has been in Amanda's life for as long as she can remember. The smell of growing up for her is the smell of coffee and from a young age she was in the coffee roastery helping out, or driving around in the van, getting to know our customers.
Today, Amanda's eyes still light up with a child-like exuberance when a cup of coffee is passed her way. Discovering new tastes from single origins or blends takes her back to a fresh sense of wonderment.
Over the years Amanda has gotten to know a lot of people involved with coffee at all stages of the process and its these relationships that make the humble bean much more than a simple drink. As Amanda says "the bean might be brown, but the process is filled with lots of colour."
Coffee has been part of Amanda's life since the beginning.
Heart and soul of the operation, Caroline has seen Black Drum grow from a small business to the place where it is now, and has gone from a self described hot chocolate girl to a specialty coffee afficionado, preferring Kenyan filtered brews.
While her official role might be office manager, Caroline also brings together the team providing a morale boost on Monday mornings, and it's the people that she works with that give her the greatest boost.
"It's the people that get me here."
Ming is known to make the best coffee in all of our admin department. While he's pumping out cappucinos and lattes for the team there's always ideas brewing in the back of his mind.
While running the numbers for Black Drum by day, Ming is mixing things up at his own café at night. Bringing together tea and coffee and his experimental approach to concocting flavours has made for some unique brews.
Ming brings this attention to detail and creative spark to the work that he does for Black Drum, bringing in costings across the entire organisation or chasing down data, Ming makes sure that things keep running smoothly at BDR HQ.
Having worked as a barista at Sydney cafes throughout university, coming to Black Drum Roasters as a writer was for Connor a return home. Fuelling the late nights spent studying, or giving a kick before class, coffee was a inextricable part of studying, as it is for many. What took coffee to the next level was also the connections and relationships that were built through coffee. Having spent some time in the Middle East, East Africa and Europe, Connor was able to see how global the consumption of coffee is, and how it connects people, surmounting barriers of language and borders.
Now, Connor is sharing the story behind Black Drum Roasters coffee. Whether that's getting a handle on the intricacies or the technicalities of roasting, researching the unique flavour profiles of origins or communicating the core values of the Black Drum Roasters team, he's putting it all into words. Sharing the story of Black Drum means sharing the story of coffee, both as the bean makes its way from around the world to cafes and homes around Australia, but also how Australian coffee tastes and practices shape the way the world drinks coffee.