By Alesha Capone
George Bittar says he’s been enjoying coffee longer than he remembers.
As International Coffee Day approaches, held annually to educate people about the history and popularity of coffee, on Friday, October 1, Mr. Bittar shared his story with Star Weekly.
Mr Bittar started Chalk Coffee Roasters as a home business about three years ago, before moving to a Hoppers Crossing site that serves roast, coffee and coffee earlier this year.
“What I remember is that over the past 15 years I have started trying different coffees to make at home and exploring the cafes around Melbourne,” said Mr Bittar.
“At that point, I started investing in better home coffee machines and honing my coffee making skills.
“I also bought a small roaster, which kept me happy – and busy – for a few years.
“I had this idea in my head that I should roast high quality specialty coffee for commercial purposes.
“Coffee is a big passion for me and wanted to bring high quality specialty coffee to our region here in the west, as most of the good roasters are in central Melbourne.”
Mr Bittar said opening at Hoppers Crossing just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit was “really tough” with many cafes closing or operating on reduced hours.
“There is not a lot of demand at the moment and cafe owners are reluctant to make a commitment or change coffee supplier given the current circumstances,” he said.
However, Mr Bittar said he felt “very grateful” to his repeat customers and that he was able to sell bags of coffee online.
“I was very lucky and received great feedback from both cafe and retail customers,” he said.
“I think it’s a combination of the ability to source high-quality coffee beans and the passion we put into it.
“I only source high quality coffee beans from reputable importers.
“Specialty coffee beans can be expensive, but you can definitely notice the quality of the cup. “