Graeme Rogerson and Tyson Downing, brother-in-law duo, had an idea during a family gathering: what would coffee taste like if it was roasted over a wood fire?
It’ll be similar to comparing a conventionally cooked pizza to a wood-fired pizza: just slightly better, right? Right.
Manuka Brothers’ Coffee Roastery is a family-owned and operated business in Hamilton that supplies coffee beans to Waikato cafes and operates a small cafe on-site.
Manuka Brothers’ coffee is roasted over Manuka wood embers, which, according to Tyson’s wife, Liz Downing, imparts warm and sweet flavours while fusing technology and art.
“It’s quite different from what you’d find in a standard gas-fired roaster,” Liz Downing explained.
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It is not a sweeter beverage, but people generally do not add sugar to coffee that has been roasted over manuka wood, she explained.
“It retains a strong flavour, but it lacks the sour, bitter flavours that we’re accustomed to.
“Nothing else compares. We must control the fire in order to ensure that the coffee is roasted to perfection. It is not a simple push-button situation.”
Manuka Brothers Coffee roasts coffee in small batches over glowing Manuka wood embers.
Tyson grew up farming; he was constantly building fires on the farm, so this came naturally to him, and he’s quite adept at fire control, Liz explained.
Even the type of wood used can make a significant difference.
“We need high-quality wood, such as a dry piece of manuka, to impart a pleasant sweetness to the coffee.
“We adore it, and our customers do as well.”