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Meet the man behind Calderwood Valley’s favourite coffee spot, Bean Roasted Cafe

The community is coming to life with an abundance of local talent and small businesses, making it a great place to live, work and play. We recently sat down with founder and director of Bean Roasted Espresso Bars, Christian Lovatt, about all things small business and how he’s created the go-to coffee spot right here in Calderwood Valley.

With over ten years' experience in the world of coffee, Christian knows what it takes to make the perfect cup, as well as offering a range of delicious, freshly made eats including sandwiches, brownies and muffins.

“Coffee is important to me, but so is community,” Christian said. “We wanted to create a place where people could get a consistently great coffee, every time and feel like they belong while doing it.”

When did you start Bean Roasted Espresso Bars, and why?

In mid 2011, I started Bean Roasted in Shellharbour Village. We opened stores in Kiama in 2013 followed by Calderwood Valley in 2017 and Albion Park Rail in 2022. I worked as a barista full time straight out of school and loved it. I saw a real need for speciality coffee in country towns. I always thought “why do you have to go to Sydney or Melbourne for great coffee?”

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’ve always been in coffee! I love to surf, fish, eat healthy and exercise. Feeling your best is key when you’re in business.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

The team I work with and the people we serve. I’ve met some of my best friends over the last 11 years in the coffee shops. Customers and staff become friends and then works just hanging out with your mates all day! (Well mostly anyway).

What makes a great cup of coffee?

The quality of beans is important. We use Campos coffee, which is high grade coffee that is freshly roasted in Sydney every week. Every coffee we brew is weighed, tamped and weighed again. Our milk is steamed to 65-68 degrees and poured with absolute care.

How have you found the entrepreneurship journey so far?

I’ve loved it. The 3–7-year mark was extremely challenging - we grew very fast and I was still quite young. Every day is different so it never gets boring!

What does an average work day look like for you?

It varies day to day but I like to run, then swim in the ocean early, then be around the staff and stores in the morning. Later in the day I take care of back-office stuff and errands. I’ll often have a surf or a fish in the afternoon - then return to work when I’m sitting on the lounge at night!

Do you have any advice for locals wanting to start their own business?

Do something you’re passionate about, because when times get tough, passion will carry you through. Commit first - figure out the rest later!

What can locals and visitors expect from the cafe?

Friendly and genuine service, great Campos speciality coffee and a chilled family friendly atmosphere.

How has Bean Roasted changed from when it first started?

Firstly, in size we’ve gone from 2 staff to 20 and 1 store to 3. In the very early days, it was a one man show and we sold handmade Belgian chocolates to boost sales enough to get by. Coffee sales increased and we no longer needed to do chocolates. Soy milk was the only alternative milk and only accounted for about 10 percent of sales. Alternative milk is now about 50 percent and there’s about 6 to choose from!

Bean Roasted has a very loyal community of customers- how have you achieved this?

It seems very cliche but having great staff is the key. Campos Specialty Coffee is also a major draw card being multi award winning coffee. We are also very connected in our communities through sponsorships of sporting groups and charity work (check out our very own Great Illawarra Walk).

Why did you choose Calderwood Valley for one of your three store locations?

The café is located at the Sprout Hub, the perfect place for a dine-in coffee! There’s an outdoor area with plenty of grass for the kids and fur babies to run around, as well as indoor and outdoor seating for comfort rain, hail or shine! 

The Sprout Hub fits what we do perfectly. A community space where people can go to meet, catch up and feel like they belong.  It was the perfect distance from our Shellharbour location and I was really keen to share the coffee that we love with the Calderwood community.

The Bean Roasted Café at the Sprout Hub is open every day until 2pm. You can follow them on Facebook here.