It’s not often – or ever – that we are in a coffee growing region such as Africa or Latin America and to our surprise Australia had the right conditions for growing coffee. One of our last adventures while in Cairns was driving up into the Atherton Tablelands to visit the Skybury Plantation. Our drive took us on a winding road that slowly climbed as the views became more expansive on to the valley below. After passing a field of kangaroos and wallaby’s we pulled up to Skybury and their plantation which grows coffee, papayas and bananas.
We ate lunch on the the deck, with a Kookaburra watching intently, before starting our tour. The banana trees towered and the paw paw’s (or papayas as we call them) hung in large clusters. Through the rows of coffee bushes wallabies hid and hopped. The plantation also had an area for injured wallabies and kangaroos to live and recover.
We stopped at a bush and learned about the Arabica beans they grow – both Bourbon and Katuai varieties that ripen to bright red and yellow cherries.
Coffee comes from the seed inside of this fruit. Inside the cherry are the beans which are covered in a kind of pulp or sap that is sweet and often referred to as “honey.” We had the chance to pick a few and taste them. Then we took a look at the process the beans go through after being picked – from washing to sorting, sitting and straining.
Inside their different varieties were ready to try and large bags of roasted beans were ready to be sent out.
The whole experience was so much fun, and I have to say the best part was the fresh banana I ate at the end of the day. Who knew that’s what bananas really taste like?!