Meet the Producer


Producer’s name: Hamish and Keith Murray
Farm name: Glasshouse Mountains Coffee Project
Farm location: Barrs Road, Glass House Mountains
Years of operation: 15 years

Can you describe your farming operation?

BEST described as a “Boutique” small batch coffee grower/roaster.

We call ourselves the ‘GHM Coffee Project’ because we are more interested in producing “specialty coffee” than mass produced commodity coffee. This creates many challenges – least of which is that we hand pick of each of our coffee beans when they are “red” ripe. This can mean going back to the same coffee tree up to ten times in a season to make sure we are only picking the ripest of cherry beans.

It is labour intensive and means we just cannot compete with many coffees around the world that have labour costs of a few dollars an hour.

Hence we have focused on our fermentation process to ensure we are producing the highest quality coffee possible. This is why we believe we won the Gold Medal at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show, scoring 90.5. This puts us up with the best specialty coffees in the world.

Our greatest challenge, apart from labour costs, is climate change. Coffee is ideally grown at temperatures between 20-24 degrees and it is why it is mainly grown at higher altitudes in Africa/South America.

We believe that with shade grown coffee, the right terroir and perfecting an appropriate fermentation process that brings out the best flavour/aromas in the coffee, we can prove the sceptics wrong.

How did it all begin?

15 years ago there was a local Coffee Growers Association with about 12 members (now down to two-three active producers). So we joined up, shared knowledge and went from there.

How did you learn about what to do to grow and roast coffee beans?

Mainly trial and error. Between Hamish and Keith we have visited scores of coffee farms in over nine origin countries where we learned, shared and collaborated with local producers and roasters.

We have also collaborated with roasters and producers here in Australia where everyone wants to share their knowledge. This too has been a very helpful learning exercise.

Are you currently selling your products? Where can we buy your product?

Yes, we sell our coffee beans and coffee cherry tea (Cascara) from the Glasshouse Mountains Ecolodge and the Glasshouse Mountains Visitor and Interpretive Centre.

Is that the first time you have entered a competition?

Yes

Is there anything else you would like to share with GC&M News readers?

We purchased our property 40 years ago and most farmers were growing pineapples and some macadamias. Now fingerlimes, dragon fruit and coffee are being grown and it just shows that if you have an open mind and are willing to adapt, then you can grow almost anything in this fertile rich part of the Sunshine Coast.

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