Now, for the first time, CRS will be open to the public; it’s opening Brew Bar, a pop-up cafe, coffee retailer and mini-roaster. “I’d been looking for a bigger space because it’s getting pretty jammy at St Peter’s [where the roasting machines are] – we have 15 members now,” says CRS’s cofounder, Nawar Adra. Instead of finding another site to install more roasting equipment, they found a very different space – one with a bright, timber fit-out at the top of the Enmore hill. “It was small, so we thought we should trial it as a retail space, an experiment.”
Because CRS doesn’t have its own coffee, the experiment is to run a cafe with beans provided by its 15 members. That’s where the SP9 comes in, says Adra. It’s the latest in coffee gadgetry; an extremely precise but fast filter-coffee machine that allows the pop-up to serve filter coffees from each of CRS’s members. “Imagine doing a pour-over for everybody, we’d need like three or four baristas here,” he says, laughing.
The filter coffees are the main game, but there’ll also be a rotating weekly special. Cold brews will come from beans that would otherwise go to waste. “They’re all expensive coffees, all high grade. If we don’t sell it, what would we do with it?” says Adra. The only food served is a simple cake range from Nutorious.
CRS is also a coffee retailer, selling its members’ beans and coffee equipment. It’s an educational space, too. During the pop-up’s stint (at the moment it will be around until March, with the possibility of extending), Adra and other CRS members will host public cupping sessions, roasting discussions, competitions and seminars on green-bean sourcing and buying. Adra hopes some sessions will be attended by new cafe operators hoping to follow other members in taking control of their coffee offering. “You can always go back to buying from your supplier afterwards,” he says, shrugging.