Article by: Hari Yellina
A new family-owned and operated coffee plantation has been built in the rich volcanic grounds of the Atherton Tablelands in the far north. The Murat family cultivated Arabica coffee in 2014 on what was once a prosperous tobacco farm west of Mareeba. The family’s strong agricultural roots derive from their grandfather, Hymet (Jack) Murat, who trades under the name Jack Murat. Plum, Paul, and Ben, three of Jack’s three sons, now oversee the family business alongside their own sons. Jemal Murat, Jack’s grandson and brand manager, claimed the family started the coffee farm using seedlings. “My grandpa founded the property in 1926, and it was originally a tobacco plantation, which he maintained well for a long time,” Mr Murat explained.
“After that crop died, we farmed a variety of crops on the land until the family decided to go into the coffee business.” “For the time being, it’s a single estate of Arabica beans, and we’re just growing one variety of coffee.” Mr Murat stated that the company is still in its early stages, and that the company’s primary focus has been on expanding its retail presence in Australia and abroad. “It’s a yearly harvest,” he added, “and our goal is to see as much of it roasted and marketed domestically as feasible.” “It’s a small plantation by global standards, but it’s quite large in the perspective of Australia.” “We process the beans on the farm and then look to distribute it in various formats for the customer.”
“Those formats can be as simple as a whole bean in a bag, and they can be sold to consumers or businesses.” The Murats have gotten a lot of positive feedback from their customers. “The reception has been fantastic, and this is due to rising demand in both domestic and international markets,” Mr Murat said. “We have a lot of rain in the summer, but we have a dry winter, and because the harvest is in the winter, it’s great in that respect; the environment is suitable to growing coffee here.” According to Jemal, Australian coffees have always had a strong demand on the worldwide market.
“The domestic dynamics are somewhat distinct from the current worldwide price spike,” he explained. “Here in Australia, production prices have always been relatively high. We’ve always done things a little differently than the rest of the world. Australian coffee is exotic, and the amount of output flowing out of Australia is tiny, especially in a world market where supply from South America, Africa, and Asia is mostly saturated. Since 2021, the Jack Murat coffee has indeed been marketed to various roasters throughout the east coast, as well as in South Australia and Western Australia.
Mr Murat explained, “These clients are long-established roasters that are searching for a domestic product to add to their assortment of coffees, which often share roots from Africa to South America.” “We’re now providing them the choice of using a domestic bean in their product line.” To roast the product, the company has teamed up with industry leader Nic Theodore, founder of iRoast, and Melbourne roasting company Zest to experiment with diverse flavours. The coffee can be ordered whole or ground on the Jack Murat website in 250g or 1kg bags for $17 or $55 respectively, and will soon be available in stores around Queensland.