Choosing a Coffee Roaster- Why we Chose Belaroma for our Cafe

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I never quite had a plan of how to get to work until I walked out the front door.

150 meters down the road was a bus stop where a number of city express buses stopped every few minutes. The journey was about 40 minutes, either cramped in to one of the last available seats, or more likely standing glued to my phone screen with the rest of the bleary-eyed, silent sheep.

The bus journey would cost a few dollars. Opposite my driveway however was another bus stop- this one servicing the buses to Manly Wharf, a little less frequently, but only a 5-7 minute journey depending on the lights. The ferry to the CBD was every 15 minutes, but the privilege was about $8 (each way). The sweetener was the coffee shops at Manly Wharf- the harbour journey could be enjoyed with a decent strong latte, unlike my city bus.

The express bus would be bearable at least a few days a week with the upgrade of a coffee to go, and I wouldn't need to leave the house with a $20 note. I had to work out a plan! Enter Belaroma cafe.

I'd used Belaroma coffee commercially whilst managing the Sands pub at Narrabeen, and a restaurant in Dee Why. The Belaroma production & cafe premises itself is in Manly Vale, right on the express city bus route for Sydney’s Northern Beaches. As a couple, and with friends, Claire and I had attempted to erase the lingering effects of a night out in Manly or Freshwater over a strong latte & some tasty eggs many times in the cafe over the years, but weekdays were a pleasant addition. I always found their coffee nice and robust; for a fan of strong coffee it was my go-to.

So that was it. A few days per week I'd catch an earlier bus, get off just before the freeway/express section, grab myself a coffee, and hop on the next one. Cheap fare, a great coffee.

The cafe became ingrained in my morning routines, and I think of it often.

Originally founded in 1968 and part of Australia's coffee landscape for now over 50 years, Belaroma Coffee has since re-branded to 7 Mile since my most recent coffee there in 2016. A take on the famous historical phrase of Sydney's Northern Beaches: "7 miles from Sydney, a million miles from care". They've retained the Belaroma label as a signature commercial roast, sitting just under their most premium blend. When selecting a coffee for Pearl, I had a few notes and a shortlist comprising both local and mainland rosters/producers.

The re-done branding for Belaroma could even be mistaken for Devonport! The seaside and the trees at a glance look like Mersey Bluff, so I may need to correct the odd enquiry here, but I love the synergy. I have my own take on the 7-mile phrase too re Pearl Oyster Bar & Cafe:

"7 blocks from town; a million miles from care."

Whilst supporting Tasmanian producers will always be at the forefront of our business, I felt a greater urge to bring this part of our own hospitality heritage, to the island. Coffee is such a personal and introverted culture- whilst we love a coffee with friends as part of a catch up or a meal, so often the individual and solemn moments with a coffee bring a different level of happiness.

That's how I feel when I see this coffee, and even more so when I'm preparing it for a guest or customer. Belaroma is a way to serve our own piece of heritage, hospitality and happiness, and in the end the decision was simple. This coffee is a part of me, a part of our skill set, and an opportunity to bring content and happiness to locals here, much the same as we're inspired by the producers of Tasmania. This is our piece of culture and we proudly present it to you. We hope Pearl becomes a part of your morning routine and your 'go-to' as Belaroma did mine.

Pearl co-founder Paul has worked in the hospitality industry for 21 years, managing and establishing businesses in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and now Tasmania, as well rural stints in the Yarra Valley, Margaret River and Broome's Cable Beach. Inspired by the beauty, produce and relaxed culture of the North West Coast, Paul and wife Claire have decided to raise their 4 young girls in Devonport, whilst working to highlight the produce and attractions of the region via Pearl Oyster Bar & Cafe Devonport.