A pilgrimage to the spiritual home of Byron Moonshine Coffee means heading to the hinterland hills of Federal near Byron Bay. Moonshine have been brewing and roasting in these hills for nearly a decade and, with a recent renovation, there is a new reason to explore where the Moonshine Coffee magic began.
The thirty-minute drive from coastal Byron Bay inland to Federal is so beautiful. Sweeping views to Cape Byron lighthouse give way to rolling green hills, and in the heart of the lush farmland is a quiet hinterland village. Federal’s single main street includes a family friendly park and a general store. It was here, back in 2013 that Byron Moonshine Coffee converted the old Federal mechanic shed into an artisan coffee roastery.
At the end of 2021, the old roastery received a full renovation, and now offers more seating and an expanded café experience.
Whether you are a regular at Moonshine or want to experience the roastery for the first time, now is a great time to grab your crew and head to the hills.
“We’ve expanded the footprint at Federal to include more of our product range, install additional seating and expand the food preparation area,” says Moonshine owner, Richard Kelly.
“Our main roastery is now in Billinudgel, after reaching our roasting capacity at Federal in early 2020. Our heart is still in Federal, and the connection we and our customers have with this site meant we always wanted to do something special.”
The design of the new look roastery café is a combination of the old and new. “Our friend Stella Toomey is an amazing designer who worked on our Brisbane and Billinudgel café fit outs,” Richard explains. Stella retained the existing fabulous mural depicting the story of the discovery of coffee from Ethiopian folklore, featuring Kaldi and his goat. The original roaster has been relocated and a small new batch roaster installed. The interior of the shed has been opened and the serving bench extended, allowing for a larger cold display and work area.
With echoes of its previous use as a mechanic workshop, the vibe is industrial and welcoming at the same time. The side of the shed has been opened, with two large pop-out windows and a long timber bar installed, creating an exterior bar seating up to ten people. Drop lights hang from large timber sleepers suspended with chains from the ceiling. Covered with rusted wire, the exposed globes lend a warm glow to the stunning red timber benches.
There are clever uses of materials, like cement cladding on the serving bench, and little touches such as the matt-black supporting beams, timber eaves and central linings on the tin interior roof. It’s a cool, funky, and interesting refit that will delight and inspire as you sit and enjoy the amazing food and coffee.
A converted caravan acts as kitchen and most goods are baked and prepared on site. The house quiche is popular and can be partnered with a fresh Greek salad. Pastries are baked in-house daily, with the Nutella cronut a standout. Muffins are baked fresh and there is an amazing range of cakes.
“We have always offered a speedy takeaway service, and now we can provide in house seating” manager Julian says. “You can choose between the shady side and rear courtyard, or the bench along the open windows at the side of the roastery.”
Federal is a popular spot to visit on a day trip to Minyon Falls, the spectacular waterfall in nearby World Heritage listed Nightcap National Park.
And of course, everyone comes for the coffee.
As you enter the roastery the matt black La Marzocco Strada two-group espresso machine is ready to make your perfect espresso from either the Pilot Light or Moon Runner Organic blend. If decaf is more your thing, Moonshine offers a tasty single origin swiss water option, and every day there is a single origin coffee served as a filter brew from the Moccamaster. In the warmer months there is chilled nitro cold brew on tap, made from the Moon Runner organic blend, that looks like a Guinness and tastes very much like fantastic coffee.
If you want to take some of the Moonshine vibe home with you, pick up Moonshine branded caps and tee shirts, or take home a hand crafted keep cup and lid from local potters. Or try the tiny tins of Instant Moonshine, a tasty instant coffee version of the Moon Runner organic blend. If you want to take some of that Moonshine Magic away with you, it’s available too, made from the same blend with the addition of health-giving mushrooms.
“We started Moonshine Coffee to explore quality coffee in the Byron area,” says Richard. “We’ve brought up our family among the hills in Federal and recently purchased a property in nearby Eltham for the kids to roam. We love it here.”
You will too. See you in the hills to experience some of that Moonshine magic.
Byron Moonshine Coffee Federal:
Monday to Friday (7.30am - 2pm)
Saturday and Sunday (8am - 2pm)
447 Federal Drive, Federal NSW 2480
Ph 02 6688 4718