Tortoise Espresso – Amazing Coffee

Tortoise Espresso – Introduction

During a brief trip to the Victorian area around Castlemaine, Daylesford and Hepburn Springs, one of the biggest surprises was a tiny coffee “hole-in-the-wall” in Castlemaine where the selection of single origin coffee options was as good as anything we have seen in Sydney, Melbourne or Hong Kong.

The name of the outlet is Tortoise Espresso and the range of coffees is truly impressive. Examples include:

  • Zest – ‘El Vergel’, made from Geisha beans from Colombia where the cherries were fermented with Koji spores;
  • Ona Coffee– ‘Finca Deborah, Enigma Opal – 2021 Harvest’ from Panama, Geisha beans which were fermented using the Carbonic Maceration technique;
  • There was a very rare offering (Laurina which is naturally low in caffeine) from Brazil called ‘Daterra’;
  • The was also a coffee sourced from Central America which was a single origin made from the rare Purpuracea bean which was discovered by Diego de la Cerda on his farm, Finca El Socorro, in Guatemala.

First, however, we should explain what to expect. When you reach 233 Barker St the first thing you will notice is a lot of low stools clustered under a large tree beside the footpath. You will also notice a line of eager customers waiting to place their order with the owner at a single window.

You might also notice a plate of pastries from a local baker called Geeza & Co. These are beautifully made and are a perfect accompaniment for the filtered coffee offerings. There are also Geeza loaves of bread available, but it is best to arrive early because they seem to be very popular.

The above photo shows the loaves of bread from the Geeza bakery that are on display outside the service window.

The list of coffees at Tortoise Espresso is truly remarkable. We have mentioned four of them above in the introduction but there is literally dozens of options available here. If you are not familiar with any of the producers named in the list provided, just explain the type of coffee you prefer and the owner will deliver to your requirements.

Among the choices you will find an incredible range of processing types and coffee bean varieties. Most of the coffee bean varieties are descendents of the Bourbon or Typica varieties and the processing types are very varied.

When we refer to processing types we are talking about how the harvested fruit (coffee is a cherry with two beans inside) – it is the beans that must be extracted by processing whether it is by using large amounts of water or by allowing fermentation to occur and then drying out the fermented fruit covering in the sun.

Given our background in the natural wine trade we are also fascinated to see that many in the coffee industry are taking up some of the processes used to naturally ferment grapes such as the Carbonic Maceration technique which has been very effectively used by many natural winemakers in France.

You can read more about coffee processing and coffee varieties in a story we have written on this site entitled “Coffee – A Fascinating Story” which covers many of the processes, chemicals and varieties as well as the relationship between all of the different varieties.

Additional information

Name: Tortoise Espresso

Street: 233 Barker St

Suburb: Castlemaine, 3450

Telephone: 0472 542 824

Opening hours: Opens at 9am – 1pm on Sat & Sun and 8am till 1pm Mon – Fri

You can see the list of coffees available of the Tortoise Espresso Web site here.

We have included Tortoise Espresso in our story about eating and drinking in Victoria to the north of Melbourne here.

By reading our story about coffee linked to above and the Tortoise Espresso Web site, you will see why we are obsessed with some of the emerging coffee varieties and emerging processing techniques.

Tags: , ,