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Small Batch - North Melbourne

Small Batch - North Melbourne

“Most Australians grew up drinking coffee that was oily, bitter and espresso brewed, because that’s how coffee was “supposed” to taste. At home, they might have a plunger and a jar of months-old ground coffee to drag out on special occasions.

Who knew how long ago their coffee was roasted or ground — let alone where it came from? Since coffee was drunk with copious amounts of milk and sugar, who even knew what it really tasted like?

Then some curious souls started asking questions about how and where coffee was harvested; how it was processed and roasted and whether it could taste better. Andrew Kelly was one of them, starting with some intrepid backyard experiments using a heat gun and colander.

Soon, Andrew dreamed of sharing his discoveries by opening a cafe and roastery. That dream became Auction Rooms: a big open space where everything was on display, a menu that raised the bar for cafe food, and an obsession with creating delicious coffee. Since 2008, Melbournians have been flocking to North Melbourne, answering the siren call of what The Age Good Cafe Guide has twice called Melbourne’s best cafe.

As our roasting operations grew, we opened a dedicated roastery down the road. Auction Rooms was our flagship cafe; Small Batch is the coffee that made it famous.

We want to spread the word that with carefully sourced and roasted coffee beans, a bit of knowledge, and openness to a world beyond espresso, anyone can make coffee at home that’s as good as any cafe’s (even ours!), and better than most. We also supply wholesale to a small number of cafe operators who care as much as we do.

Understanding that the best cup of coffee starts with the raw product, we are dedicated to working consciously and meaningfully in a select group of countries, collaborating with producers closely to achieve the holy trinity: coffee that is exceptional, that has a positive social impact and that supports sustainable agriculture."

"Candyman is our flagship espresso blend, launched in 2010. It’s our daily labour of love, a constant work-in-progress: making superlative tastiness from the raw components that we insist on buying well, ourselves (ie not just from the importer as is common practice). All this to create sweet, balanced espresso, with or without milk."


  • Smallholders of Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Huehuetenango, Guatemala
  • Erwin Argueta (Huehuetenango, Guatemala)
  • Ahmed Abatemam, cherry-dried (Jimma, Ethiopia)

Roast date - 12/02/2024

Process - Washed / Washed / Washed

Flavour notes - Malted milk, Macadamia butter

" Two of our favourite singles blended, showcasing the season's best flavours, originate from producers listed below and offer a bolder two-coffee pairing with heavier flavours designed to accommodate the addition of milk."


  • Nixon Adarme – honey process caturra (Nariño, Colombia)
  • Alemayehi Sali – washed process Dega and Kurume (Uraga, Guji, Ethiopia)

Roast date - 12/02/2024

Process - Washed / Washed

Flavour notes - Salted caramel, Plum, Milk chocolate

"We’re hugely fond of German Ortiz, and not just because of the goodness of his coffee. One of the founding producers of the feted Asoguacharos group – German offers increasingly delicious coffee from his several farms, while steadfastly fulfilling the treasurership function at the group, offering up his home for group meetings and generally wearing the biggest smile in the room.

We’re proud to present something special from German’s September harvest, a variety that will likely become ubiquitous any month now: in Spanish it’s “borbon ají”, meaning borbon “chilli” (the latter mainly because the cherry ripens to the orangey colour of a habaneros).

This is the second harvest of this variety, planted 3 years ago on German’s second farm. Because the lot was so small, we’ve combined it 25:75 with a pink borbon variety from his primary farm. German ferments in cherry form for 24 hours, followed by 24-36 hours in plastic drums."

Producer - German Ortiz

Origin - Near Bruselas, Huila, Colombia

Roast date - 12/2/2024

Variety - Borbon Ají, Pink Bourbon

Process - Fermented

Flavour notes - "A deliciously sweet cup with marmalade and chocolate notes up front (think jaffas), pleasant minerality, and a refreshing acidity that lifts on cooling."


"Alemayehu Sali along with his brother have been working in the Siko village perfecting their craft of producing distinctive washed and naturally dried coffees for over 7 years. Their washing station is considered the first in the area, and it was built at a time when the focus of buyers was predominantly in nearby Yirgacheffe. A huge credit to their pioneering work, Uraga has been delivering beauties this last few years and is now beloved of specialty coffee buyers the world over. The combination of high altitude, fertile soil, plentiful rainfall as well as expert processing knowledge have yielded outstanding results. Around 560 farmers contribute cherry to the station, from young and vigourous trees of Dega and Kurume variety.

This lot is a fully washed coffee with approximately 36-48 hours of fermentation time. It is then soaked for 4 hours before being carefully dried on African drying beds. Stunning clarity and a juicy acidity are the result."

Producer - Alemayehu Sali

Origin - Siko Village, Uraga District, Guji Zone, Ethiopia

Roast date - 29/1/2024

Variety - Dega, Kurume

Process - Washed

Flavour notes "Pristine and ethereal with jasmine, elderflower, nectarine and a lingering honeyed silky mouthfeel"




Espresso - 9 bar

Brew ratio - 1:2.5 (dry coffee : espresso liquid)

Temp - 94 Deg C

Time - 25-30 seconds.

*Adjust grind size to achieve the desired time


Espresso - 6 bar

Brew ratio - 1:2.8 (dry coffee : espresso liquid)

Temp - 94 Deg C

Time - 25-30 seconds.

*Adjust grind size to achieve the desired time



Temp - off the boil

Ratio - 1:15.5 (dry coffee:water)

Bloom - 30 seconds

Flow rate - fast

*Adjust grind size to achieve desired flow rate


Temp - off the boil

Ratio - 1:14.5 (dry coffee : water)

Bloom - 30 seconds

Brew time - 90 seconds (including bloom)

Press consistently over 15-20 seconds.


Stove top

Ratio - 1-14 (dry coffee : water)

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