Meet the Producer: Roasters with Altitude

Roasters with Altitude are leading the way with a humble heart and a commitment to care through the service of fresh coffee and beans every Saturday at Carriageworks Farmers Market. The business donates 100% of their profits to the charity they built in East Timor; Timor Learning Centre. The centre includes an English school, a women’s sewing centre, and a gymnasium.

Their aim is to create an enduring connection between the growers and lovers of outstanding coffee with a focus to support fair-trade, specialising in coffee from Timor-Leste and Byron-Bay then roasted in the Blue Mountains.

Who is Roasters with Altitude and whom would we see at the market?

Our Carriageworks Farmers Market stall is run by myself and husband Chris with 2 baristas; Hyde and Claire. Chris is the profiler for our coffee and Libby Bleakley is the sole trader.

Can you share with us some details about your fresh coffee and beans?

Roasters with Altitude is a small boutique coffee roaster based in the Blue Mountains. We specialise in Australian coffee where we purchase green coffee beans directly from our farmer in the Byron Bay Hinterland. We also roast green coffee beans from other countries, sourcing from the misty mountains of Timor-Leste, Ethiopia, Sumatra, Mexico, Columbia, Brazil.

We sell cups of fresh take-away coffee at Carriageworks Farmers Market along with bags of roasted coffee. Plus we sell coffee beans online.

There is something truly remarkable about your business model, may you explain the process when someone makes a purchase at Roasters with Attitude?

Yes, 100% of our profits go to our charity that we built in East Timor.

Our philosophy in roasting coffee centers around supporting the indigenous people of different counties to preserve their sacred growing regions. While doing this, we are supporting their traditional way of life where connecting with the earth in a respectful, spiritual way is maintained, while producing quality coffee beans. As a specialised coffee roaster we promote quality over quantity.

The focus of our enterprise is to support fair-trade, with coffee from Byron-Bay and Timor-Leste. We deal directly with these farmers when choosing our beans.

Our roasting business started out to assist farmers within the coffee belt and to raise money for our Community Centre in East Timor. We built a gym, English school and Women’s sewing Centre – we have over 600 members and employ 10 Timorese staff. Our classes and memberships are free, but each member does volunteer work to clean and care for the centre.

We then specialised in Australian grown and produced coffee, grown in Byron Bay and roasted in the Blue Mountains.

May you share more about how Roaster with Altitude began engaging with East Timor?

After living and working in Timor-Leste for more than seven years, founder and director of the Timor Learning Centre, Libby Bleakley, understood that to make a project sustainable and successful in the developing world, the local community needs to be initially consulted and ultimately take responsibility and ownership of the venture. Hence ten Timorese staff are now employed to facilitate the running of the Centre.

The Timor Learning Centre is about establishing strong social foundations by bringing the community together. By building respectful relationships, crime is reduced, especially violence within families and communities. The Centre supports and empowers its members to take ownership in progressing the development of their country.

What makes your coffee/beans stand out?

We have Australian grown coffee which most other coffee companies do not as it is in short supply. We buy from the same single estate in the Byron Bay Hinterland each year, working directly with the farmer.

Most people have never even tried Australian coffee!

Have you won any awards or recognition for your produce?

We have won a bronze medal in the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show 2019.

How long have you been trading at the Carriageworks Farmers Market?

Nearly 3 years.

What’s your favourite thing about trading at the Carriageworks Farmers Market?

All the wonderful community members we have met and the other farmers and producers. We feel a big part of the Carriageworks community.

Is there anything else you’d like us to share with visitors?

That every cup of coffee or coffee beans purchased supports the community centre in East Timor. All our customers are part of this charity, as without their help our Centre would not be as good as it is today.

Make sure to visit Roasters with Altitude next time you’re at the Carriageworks Farmers Market. Open from 8am – 1pm, every Saturday.

Stay up to date and read more about the Timor Learning Centre here.