Neli Coffee has teamed up with a Queensland coffee grower and local Aboriginal artist to create a limited coffee in time for Christmas that will help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.
The idea was brewed earlier this year when long-time friends Neli Coffee owner Ed Thomas and artist Kevin Pearson caught up for coffee.
Ed says he and wife Janelle had done sample roasts with beans from Atherton Tablelands grower, Skybury plantation, and decided to combine the beans with ones they had harvested from their own trees at Neli Coffee’s Clontarf base.
“We did some trials with and were impressed with the results,” he says.
Ed says he will develop the flavour in the next few weeks, but it will most likely be “full-bodied with hints of chocolate, a bit nutty, quite distinct and a nice level of acidity”.
It will be presented in a bio cylinder adorned with an original artwork by Kevin, of Kyanga Art, created especially for the project.
There will be only 80, 200g units available, priced at $30 each. They are expected sell out quickly.
Proceeds will go to Boss Boxing, a not-for-profit club enabling, empowering and equipping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth through sport, programs, mentoring and business.
Kevin, a Rothwell-based self-taught artist who now has work displayed in New York, Wales, Hawaii and Canada, is thrilled to be part of the collaboration.
The artwork he created for the coffee cylinders aims to combine old ways with new ones depicting coffee beans and flowers, old forests, a yarning circle and the river a life. The cassowary is a nod to the beans’ origins in Far North Queensland.
Ed says the irony is that coffee is an introduced species.
“But, sitting around and talking isn’t. I mean, that’s been around for 40,000 years, right? If anything, coffee is now a conduit for that,” he says.
Kevin adds: “How many deals are made over a coffee … you know life’s ideas and arranging this (concept) over a coffee”.
Art has only been part of his life since April last year, prompted by a gift - canvases and six colours – from his daughter and son-in-law. The only paint brush he had picked up before then was one to paint the house.
“I just taught myself. Sometimes in the morning I’ll look at what I’ve done and think how did I do that? It’s just like some spirit … it just captures the essence of what I’m trying to put down. It’s something I love,” he says.
Ed has seen his friend’s work develop since then and is excited to collaborate with him on this project.
He says the blend is being produced instead of a Christmas coffee this year, but customers can place orders and collect it from December 16-23.
Customers will go in the draw to win the original artwork, signed by Kevin.
Orders need to be made and paid for in person at Neli Coffee 293 MacDonnell Rd, Clontarf.