Toby Smith, the Aussie roaster and barista behind Toby’s Estate Coffee in Williamsburg, has spent the last two decades trekking the globe in pursuit of better beans. In fact, despite its location at the center of the pop culture universe, the year-old shop at North Sixth and Berry Streets is likely the least exotic place Smith has been in years.
In Australia, where Smith launched the first of four cafés 14 years ago (there’s a fifth in Singapore), his name is synonymous with wonky attention to craft and direct-trade brews, which require serious, hands-on sourcing trips to places like Costa Rica, Yemen, Ethiopia, Java, Kenya and Peru. And before learning to roast in his Sydney garage (just like any good Brooklyn DIY food artisan), Smith learned the way of the bean working on plantations in Brazil and Guatemala.
Over the course of three years, Smith also brought his friend and photographer Garrett Robinson with him on his sourcing trips, and the result is a stunning book called Toby Smith’s Coffee Trails, a visual journey through 11 coffee-growing countries. We asked Smith to share a few of his favorite scenes—including a few that didn’t make the cut—from the world’s most remote and rural regions.