FOR Amelia Franklin, operating a small business is part of who she is.
“I grew up helping out in our family’s newsagency in Sydney from the age of five,” Ms Franklin said.
“I used to stand on two phone books so I could reach the cash register. I’ve seen the swings, the booms, the busts.”
All this turned out to be excellent preparation for branching out and doing her own thing when, years later, she found herself a single mother on the pension.
“I decided that was not where I wanted to be, so I started doing some research and discovered coffee was the second most traded thing in the world after oil.
“I thought I can’t trade oil, but I can certainly trade coffee – stuff it, I’ll buy a coffee roaster.”
Ms Franklin then poured her finances into buying an imported coffee roaster from Turkey, hundreds of kilograms of coffee beans and began knocking on the doors of coffee roasters in Sydney and beyond.
“I burnt an awful lot of beans and cried a lot in the first six months – I really had no idea what was involved, but then I slowly started getting the knack.”
“Getting the knack” meant understanding the profiles of the different beans. Size and density matter a lot and all types have to be roasted differently. Then there are the finer nuances of how different blends “cup”, how they appear and smell when in the coffee cup.
Five years on and Ms Franklin feels she has emerged from her self-imposed apprenticeship with a strong legal and financial framework for her business and lots of exciting profiles for coffee blends in her head.
“Last year was the year of the paperclip – I was a paper pusher, organising the business side of things – this year is the year for coffee.”
With her beans coming from all over the world through an importer in Melbourne, Amelia Franklin Fair Trade Coffee Roaster has now opened her coffee bar above the video shop in the main street of Bellingen.
The coffee bar is a showroom for her blends from 8am to 1pm and then three afternoons a week she turns on the roasting machine and gets to work.
“It’s pretty noisy and the space is small, which is why we don’t do it when we have customers – we’d all be falling over each other.”
Another arm of her business is expert barista training, offering a range of courses for coffee-lovers and would-be baristas.
For more information phone 6655 1748.