Ask a local in Byron Bay where you can get a really good coffee, and they’ll probably lead you off the main drag and down an alley way. Don’t fear…they’re taking you to the Barefoot Brew Room in Lawson Lane, a hole-in-the-wall espresso bar operated by the team from Barefoot Roasters.
Owner, Rodney Contojohn, who comes to the coffee world with 20+ years in hospitality, ably leads that team. He began roasting coffee as a trainee roaster at Di Bella Roasting Warehouse and since branching out on his own, he has enjoyed great success, including multiple awards. Roasting coffee started as a hobby for Rodney, who spent his time creating blends that he personally enjoyed. He now roasts coffee sourced from Cofi-Com, and has found that the blends he creates are a hit with his customers, too.
His house blend is Blend II – the aptly named second blend he created once the espresso bar was opened. It features beans from Costa Rica, Colombia and Sumatra which are roasted in a 1982 vintage Probat as a medium to dark roast. There are flavours of dark cocoa, hazelnut and hints of grapefruit. Blend II was recognised in the Golden Bean awards in 2013; Rodney was amongst the top 10 roasters that year, too.
As well as his popular blends, Rodney also offers single origins from a variety of countries as well as Byron Blue Estate Australian coffee, sourced directly from a (very) local coffee farmer.
Co-owner, Dawn Beaumont, spends some of her time in digital marketing, but relishes her ‘other’ life, as a barista working on the Barefoot Brew Room’s iconic Victoria Arduino Black Eagle machine. Dawn and Rodney also serve up cold drip, AeroPress and drip pot for those wanting to side step the ever-popular flat white or cappuccino. The crowd here is made up of locals who work in the area and have been visiting the Barefoot Brew Room since it opened, often toting their own cups and mugs. There’s the expected influx of tourists over summer too, of course.
There’s a range of breakfast and lunch nibbles available – toasted bagels, fresh baked brownies, and a selection of banana breads, that sort of thing. Could there be any better start to the day than a thick slice of banana bread and an espresso? Try the Dark Star blend, a dark espresso roast with a rich body. You’ll taste sweet caramel first, followed by hints of apricot and a bright, spicy black-pepper finish.
And the best thing about popping in for your morning coffee is that you can buy a bag of one of Barefoot’s fantastic blends or single origins to get you through the rest of the day.