Today we started our visit schedule with a trip across town to DiBella Coffee Roasters. This is a great organization that has a young, very entrepreneurial and ethically minded founded, Phil DiBella. Mr. DiBella started his company as a one man operation roasting and selling his coffee literally door to door. Today, they are one of Australia's most successful and envied coffee companies.
We started our visit with a discussion and demonstration on roasting fresh coffee cherries. They have a small roaster that they use for demostrations (see the picture below). Coffee roasting is a very precise process that most consumers will never have the opportunitiy to appreciate as they sip their morning java!
We started with a brief discussion on both the business philosophy of DeBella Coffee and their direct trade policy with coffee farmers as we waiting for the cherries to finish roasting.
Next they explained how coffee is roasted in detail. It is an interesting process... You can actually hear the cherries "pop" when they are ready to be removed - it sounds like popcorn!
After the roasting demo, we had a really nice pasta lunch served to us, followed by a coffee of our choise. The coffee here is outstanding! The Italy trip has nothing on us!!
After finishing lunch, we walked back to Central Station to visit the operations center of the Sydney Trains organization. Our host, Samantha, was very helpful - this is an organization I have tries to get a visit with for 5 years!
We learned a bit about the history of the organizaiton and then went right into the Operations and Control Center. This is where the city's entire train network runs from - operations, logistics, security, everything. These pictures are of what they refer to as the "WOW" board.. and it was pretty impressive. At a glance, they can look at this board and find any train in the network and tell whether or not it is in operation and if it is on time. They also have somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 closed circuit cameras across the network - this is a very safe and very secure publis transportation system!!
And if that wasn't a long enough day, we then went on a tour of the Sydney Opera House. This structure is one of the most iconic and most photographed structures inthe world!
It is impressive and magnificent when you are standing outside of it, but the inside is even more spectacular!
The large "shells" were constructed first and were intended to be open air structures. The idea to enclose the structure was an afterthought! The building is covered in ceramic tiles that are specially designed so that they actually clean themselves whenever it rains.
And what visit to the Opera House would be complete without some type of dramatic performance! This is Sri and Lindsey "hamming it up" and Nic trying his best to keep his cool and keep them under control!
This is the main performance hall. The pipe organ is amazing to see! I believe they told us that it is one of if not the largest in the southern hemisphere. A very impressive space to be sure.
From there, we met at the Haymarket Hotel for dinner and "Ladies Night". This place is an odd little spot we ran across on our first trip several years ago. On Wednesdays, they offer free manicures if you are dining or enjoying a beverage. We had a range of things for dinner from steak, to pizza, to chicken schnitzel (a local favorite), to gormet burgers. It seemed that no one left hungary!
The one drawback to this is that once nails are done, they are wet! This is Taylor showing off her best "keep my hands clear" form during the drying process. I am not sure, but I thinkn Professor MacKinnon may had just gone down to take a number so he could get a manicure.
And the star of the evening and winner of the coveted "VB Award" was Dan Malec. Finally, after feeding many many students many many meals at this place, one of the guys manned up and followed through with getting a manicure. Hats off to Dan - and his nails sure did look nice for his deep sea fishing excursion on Friday!! Fish like neatly groomed hands!!