An Introduction to Black Drum Coffee
In the film Jiro Dreams of Sushi, there is an interview with the rice dealer who supplies the master sushi Chef, Jiro Ono. The dealer is adamant that he won’t sell his rice to anyone who he doesn’t think will know how to cook it. Just like Jiro’s rice dealer, if Kevin Crouse, sales rep and co-founder (with Master Roaster Scott Jones) of Black Drum Coffee senses that you are from some sub-par coffee institution that is going to doom his beans to the fate of becoming black dishwater in the hands of some espresso extracting cowboy, he simply won’t sell them to you.
I meet Kevin at Surry Hills Nixon Project, the first stockist of Black Drum coffee. The man is intense, which is exactly what you’d expect from a guy who has made his living selling caffeine. Kevin’s background is in the Seattle coffee scene, his experience is thirteen years of cafe ownership and coffee roasting. Kevin has also owned the world’s first mobile Synesso coffee machine, converted a bathroom in his home into an espresso cabinet, judged barista championships and created a son that can pour a double rosetta into your latte with a broken arm. Now imagine what he’s like after having tasted 20 coffees in one day during the four month process it took to create the brand’s first blend.
The blend, named ‘three-four’ (after the musical time signature) was worth it. I’ve always thought it was a bit of crock when someone spouted about there being ‘butterscotch’, ‘apricot’ in my coffee. Maybe I actually am the connoisseur I always thought I was, or maybe, just maybe, Kevin has mastered a light roast that brings out the fruitier characteristics of his beans but I do notice the butterscotch and apricot flavours in my coffee. They roll over the palate, one after the other in velvety waves, gently marching me into a functional level of consciousness for the morning, much like the steady beat of a drum, a Black Drum to be precise.
Come and meet Black Drum and it’s makers in person at the Nixon Project launch party, 35 Foster St Surry Hills this Sunday March 9th from 12 – 9pm.
By Christina Gee
Photography by Toni Veziris