Strange Brew: Dawn Patrol’s cellar door approach

Dawn Patrol Coffee Roasters co-owners Dominic Ossa and Nick Suggitt want to change the way people perceive and appreciate the many flavours and levels of work that goes into a quality cup of coffee.

Located in Kangarilla, Ossa and Suggitt have been roasting their specialty grade coffee beans on-site for four years, which they distribute wholesale to cafes around Adelaide as well as serve to patrons’ in-store.

“We’ve been in hospitality for a while and we’ve always had an interest in coffee, but I think it mainly started from (previously) having a café,” Ossa says. “Nick and I were both working and running a coffee shop and that’s kind of how it grew.”

Before moving from the UK to Australia separately, Suggitt says their interest to pursue a coffee-making business developed during their first year working together in Adelaide. “We were still in the café full time and we’d spend our evenings first off on a small roaster, having a few beers and messing up many batches of beans and at that point we had the idea to open up a roastery,” Suggitt says.

Ossa says Dawn Patrol have always focussed on “having a sustainable and traceable product”.

“We thought it would be a great idea to have a similar approach to the wine industry or the craft brewing industry, so people can understand what kind of a beverage coffee is,” he says. “It’s about always being completely honest and transparent with it and the only way we thought we could do that is by opening a coffee shop that was already amongst that industry.”

To showcase this Ossa and Suggitt have employed a unique ‘cellar door approach’. Open to the public on Sundays, the duo holds free coffee tasting sessions to demonstrate the variations of flavour found in single-origin coffee beans sourced from farms across Latin America and Africa.

“We want to enable people to explore the nuances you can get in different varieties and growing regions in a welcoming environment,” Suggitt says. “It’s just to open up a bit of a conversation about it and change people’s perspective on coffee as a beverage as well.

“Usually, it’s a choice of three different (single-origin) coffees and we generally try and have quite a bit of variation in the coffees that are on offer just so it’s a little bit different for people to taste and understand the variation in flavour there is in coffee.”

“We’re very much about keeping it really laid-back and simple,” says Ossa, who hosts the tasting sessions and guides visitors through the process of how their coffees are made, sourced and brewed. “It’s nice for people to understand that coffee is variety-based as well as origin-based even though there is not a huge diversity in coffee genetics, there are some differences between varieties.

“Processing also has a huge part in coffee as well, so sometimes we’ll throw in a coffee that has been processed differently, so people can get their head around, at the farming level, what might change the flavour of coffee, not just at roast and café level.”

The pair serve blends and single-origin coffees using beans that are imported through Melbourne Coffee Merchants and Caravela Coffee. To achieve specific flavours, they alternate between the two main coffee-making techniques: espresso and alternative brewing. “We basically run two blends of coffees that most of our wholesale customers use as well as having single origin,” Ossa says.

“We want to improve on those coffees as much as possible, so we’re always keeping those coffees fresh and not ageing them too much, which is really important for a small-batch roaster. Essentially, the blends are made up of no more than two coffee beans that suit each other and work well as a balanced cup of coffee. At the moment, we have the Latin American coffee blend is a Peruvian coffee blended with a Brazilian coffee, so its two single-origin beans that we roast separately and then blend after they’ve been roasted.”

Suggitt says this enables them to offer more variety to their wholesale and in-store customers. “We feel that having those two blends they both sit at different areas in the flavour spectrum so ideally there’s something to suit everyone there,” Suggitt says. “With the single-origin coffee, we’re keeping that on rotation with something of a different origin and flavour profile.”

Driven by their thirst to learn more about the industry and improve their product, Ossa and Suggitt have plans to grow Dawn Patrol’s wholesale business in more cafes by the end of the year and establish closer ties with overseas coffee farmers.

“We’ve always spoken about going to origin and working something out with farmers,” Ossa says. “We’ve met several farmers over our time and had the pleasure of seeing that end of the business. We’d like to delve into that a little bit more.”

You can find Dawn Patrol Coffee Roaster’s blends and single-origin coffees at the following cafes: Trouble & Strife, Fawn Coffee, Food Lore, Will & Pascoe, Bowl Society, Lampshade Coffee Lounge, Ateliers Crafers, Harry’s Deli (Wirra Wirra), Salopian Inn, The Kitchen Door (Penny’s Hill), Samuels Gorge, Fleurieu Pantry, Two Bit Villains, The Coffee Cart, Incognito Espresso, Beans Talk (Hutt Street Centre) and Beach Barista (Kangaroo Island).

Dawn Patrol Coffee 
65 Days Road, Kangarilla
Open: Sundays, 9.30am to 4pm
dawnpatrolcoffee.com.au

Images supplied

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