Getting Down Under Coffee in Australia

When one thinks of Australia, surfing, hiking, kangaroos and crocs may come to mind, but coffee? Well, Australia is changing the way the world thinks about coffee.

Breaking all of the rules, many people in Australia have turned to coffee growing in hopes to evolve the way we view coffee. Due to Australia's low production, it is not yet recognized as a coffee producing country, but that soon may change.

The Next Big Producer of Coffee?

The climate, location, and soil content of various parts of Australia scream coffee and we hope that in the next few decades, Australia will turn around java and bring a new interest to coffee. The majority of coffees are produced in the areas between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.

Australia, the world's smallest continent, is located comfortably within these lines, with similar latitudes as Guatemala, El Salvador, Jamaica, Ethiopia and India. In the Northern Australia, home to the popular Australia Coffee & Tea Exporters company and plantations in the state of Queensland, the average temperature lays between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius with an average rainfall between 1300 and 1700 mm per annum with mild to medium humidity, all perfect conditions for growing coffee trees.

Perfect Soil for Organic Growing

For those of us that think Australian soil is too arid for proper coffee production, it would be a surprise to note that the soil of Northern Australia has a pH between 5 and 6 (again ideal for coffee!) and contains a variety of natural minerals that aid in great tasting coffee beans such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and potassium. There are dozens of reputable growers throughout the states of Australia that hope to continue producing wonderful coffee.

Due to the relatively new introduction of coffee trees to the continent, many of the growers are dedicated to organic growing techniques. This is an environmentally sound way to produce any foodstuff and something we hope becomes more popular with coffee growers around the globe.

So, when you think of Australia, bite your tongue to avoid saying the humdrum "Shrimp on the Barbi" that will assuredly make your Aussie friends groan. Instead, comment on their local coffees with hopes that more people will turn their heads to the fine quality of Australian coffee beans.

Recipe: World's Best Coffee Ice Cream

Ingredients

Method

To crush espresso beans: Use a mortar and pestle or back of a heavy pan and roughly crush. Chill in refrigerator before adding to ice cream. Add sweet cream custard base to ice cream machine (for recipe, see below). Follow manufacturer's instructions.

Two minutes before completion of freezing in machine, or just as the ice cream begins to stiffen, add the espresso beans. Freeze until just hardened and enjoy!

Sweet Cream Custard Base:

Ingredients

Method

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine milk, cream, sugar and vanilla. Heat over a medium heat until hot: NOT boiling. Stir occasionally to release the "caviar" from the vanilla beans. In a separate bowl, gently whisk egg yolks.

Once cream mixture is hot, add approximately one cup, or one ladle full, cream mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. This allows the eggs to heat without curdling or scrambling. This step is crucial and must not be skipped.

After eggs and cream are mixed, pour the entire contents of the bowl into the saucepan, again, whisking constantly. Cook until thick, anywhere from five to ten minutes.

Occasionally, remove pan from heat and whisk for a few seconds off the heat. This will prevent the eggs from scrambling at this stage in the process.

To test doneness, dip a wooden spoon into the custard. It should completely coat the back of the spoon. Then, make a line through the custard with your finger. If the line is easily and cleanly made the custard is finished.

Allow to completely cool in refrigerator before using in ice cream.

Makes 1 quart ice cream.

Store in an airtight container in the freezer. For extra flavor and crunch, also add ¼ Cup chopped almonds