We know that Almond Breeze Barista Blend works a treat in coffees, but did you know it also makes an awesome addition to hot chocolates and smoothies?

Our friend Simon Gautherin, head barista at Gypsy Espresso and co-founder at First Shot Barista Training, has kindly shared his killer hot chocolate recipe, which takes hot chocolate drinking to another level. This recipe itself is inspired by Simon’s delish salted dark chocolate brownies (we 100% need to try these).

For 1L of chocolate sauce:

-300g of 70.5% Callebaut Belgian chocolate
-100g of 66% dark cacao powder
-80g of Raw sugar or Mollasses
-10g of vanilla essence
-10g of salt
-500g hot water

Blend everything into a food processor and bottle into squeeze bottles.

For one serve: 30 to 40g of chocolate with the milk of your choice.

Optional: top with chocolate sprinkles, dark cacao, marshmallows and a pinch of salt. The salt increases the sweetness without using much sugar at all.

Does your café use Barista Blend in something other than coffees? Have you got a recipe you’d like to share? Get in touch here.

Follow Simon on Instagram here. Image via Matthieu Harnois.




In our latest content series, we take a look at whether coffee is an art or science and how these two worlds come together.

In the second instalment of our interview with full time artist Stephen Evans, we discussed what inspires him, his favourite places to paint in Australia and which colour he would choose if he could only paint with one colour.

What inspires you?

Anywhere where I’m in an environment where I’m not normally. Even if it’s a different suburb or around a different group of people. A little example is, I’m doing a demonstration at the Easter show which means I’ll be working with the public, which is different. You know what it is, I think what inspires me is being out of my comfort zone.

I’m not one of these artists that hangs out with artists, I hang out with all sorts of people. I get inspired by everything around me, just normal stuff. I tend to tap into what I call “normal people” and I’m just inspired by what’s going on around me.

What inspires me is normal people doing everyday things without wanting recognition. Really simple things, that help either people or the world. Also, what else inspires me is what I call little pockets. What a pocket is, imagine that you are walking along, it’s something you see in your peripheral or in the corner of your eye when you’re busy trying to get to somewhere you’re going. You see a little kind of moment. It could be something as simple as someone’s left something, or someone’s doing something interesting. And those little moments, they are the important things. If you don’t stop and take notice of them, you don’t give yourself time to breathe.

What have been some of your favourite places to paint in Australia?

I could easily say Bondi, Byron Bay or Whitsundays, all the easy ones, but I’m going to give you other examples. If you go through my journals, particularly my travel journals, a lot of them are from when I’m travelling and I’m not driving my car. It could be at a train station or at a bus station, or on a bus or going from one place to another or waiting somewhere. I think a lot of the places that are favourite to me are places where I’m waiting and I’ve got time between one place and another.

For anyone who has travelled, you spend a lot of time waiting when you’ve got a day between places. A couple of times when I’ve travelled the car would break down or suddenly I’m stuck in a country town and I go to this town and have the most memorable experience. Suddenly I’m at a diversion. So maybe, my favourite places to paint are the diversions, the surprises.

How did you learn your method of taking pictures and piecing them together to create perspective?

A lot of it comes from my training at the Performing Arts Academy in WA, which was in set design. With theatre design you have to learn what’s called projection and forced perspective. It teaches you to be able to fit an entire set into a very small space. A lot of theatre sets may only be about six metres deep and you have to create an illusion so that the people in the audience feel like they’re looking at a massive room. In order to do that you have to create what’s called projection, where the back part of the theatre stage is scaled down so it’s a lot smaller.

What’s your favourite colour to paint with? If you could only use different shades of one colour to paint with, which colour would you use?

That’s such an unfair question! Well, I love skies and I love the water, so it has to be blue. However, there are so many variations of blue. If I had to only use one colour, it would probably be ultramarine, but I am starting to lean towards sky blues. If you said, what’s your favourite primaries? If I’m doing a yellow, it would have to be what I call a ‘Van Gogh yellow’. It’s not my favourite colour, but if I had to pick a red, I would probably be leaning towards a terracotta or vermillion, which is somewhere between red and orange.

If you could be transported anywhere in the world to paint, where would that be?

Can I stay there for a bit? Right now, I would rent a villa in the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) in Barcelona and then I’d like to have a special transporter for when it’s around 5-6 pm. I’d like to then be transported to Seville so that I can hang out there and party as well. Then the whole time I’m there, I’ve just got my journals pumping out wonderful things.

If I could be transported anywhere else to paint, it would be to travel across the Nullarbor Plain, because I did this trip years ago and it sounds boring, but it’s actually quite magical. It is the most meditative experience. For someone who doesn’t like road trips, forget it, you won’t love it, but for someone who loves to be in a car and do a road trip, it’s amazing. The Nullarbor is an incredible experience and you can do things like stop at the Australian Bight and drive like 20-50 metres off the Bite and find somewhere to camp for the night and sleep under the stars.

If you weren’t painting, what would you be doing?

I love cooking, I just love the whole process. I don’t follow recipes; I like to create and play with food. I like to find raw ingredients, grow things in the garden and see what they do. I would probably work with food. Like paintings, I would get to share it with people and make them happy… and I get such a joy out of that.

One bit of advice…

I want to give you an artist tip and it’s very simple. Once a week, or at the very least once a month, you need to have a media-free day. I don’t just mean social media, I mean computers, tv, radio, papers. I do it once a week, purely because I can. There’s a couple of reasons for it. The first reason is, and I keep going back to it, breathing space. Breathing space is about giving you that time to yourself to just think and to be. The second thing is that with the amount of media, not just social media, but this 24-hour news cycle, people have become over-informed. By being over-informed you actually become saturated with information and you become less sensitive to it and it doesn’t have an effect on you anymore.




It’s official, after seeing your epic vids on Instagram, we’ve made the #BreezeyPourChallenge a thing. Kicking off Saturday 20th April 2019, we want to see you getting creative with your pours to be in with a chance of winning $1,000 and some rad Barista Blend goodies.

What is the #BreezeyPourChallenge and how do you take part we hear you ask? It’s super easy. Get following us on Insta and tag us in a vid of you carrying out a “unique” pour (be safe though, yeh?) using Barista Blend. Make sure you tag @baristablendaus and use the hashtag #BreezeyPourChallenge. It really is that simple. So, get your game faces on, your creative juices flowing and be ready for some fierce competition from your peers.

Some basic rules of the #BreezeyPourChallenge:

– The comp starts at 12.30pm on Saturday 20th April 2019 and ends at 11.59pm AEDT 20th May 2019. You have a whole month to show us your stuff.
– You can enter as many times as you like – in fact we encourage it.
– Think outside the box – this is not a latte art competition.
– There will only be one #BreezeyPourChallenge winner – make our job hard!
– Make sure you are following us on Insta (we will be checking, yo!) and you tag any entries @baristablendaus and use the hashtag #BreezeyPourChallenge.
– The total prize pool for you to get your hands on is $1,000 cash, a month’s supply of Barista Blend (30 cartons), an Almond Breeze Barista Blend jug, an Almond Breeze KeepCup, an Almond Breeze apron. We know, we’re good to you.

Good luck, we can’t wait to see what you talented bunch come up with.

Full T&Cs available here.




In our latest content series, we take a look at whether coffee is an art or science and how these two worlds come together.

Bondi-based Stephen Evans is one of Australia’s iconic landscape and still-life artists. Drawing inspiration from his beloved hometown of Bondi, Stephen is renowned for his lively Bondi landscape and beachscape paintings.

In the first part of our series, we caught up with full time artist Stephen Evans in his studio by the sea. We discussed his “coffee” series that he’s currently working on, as well as what makes cafés interesting to paint and the science behind mixing paint.

Where did you get the idea for your “coffee” series that you’re working on now?

I started painting coffee pots because I love painting reflective surfaces. If you get a good Italian espresso pot or an espresso machine, they have a really nice shape to them and if you polish them up, you get to see in the reflection what’s going on around them at the same time. It just makes the most beautiful still life subject matter. They’re shiny and metallic, so they are perfect for me to paint. It’s good when you’re an artist to paint something that you’re passionate about, as it comes out in the work.

What makes cafés interesting to paint?

 You go to a café and anyone can go in there, you don’t feel like you need to be a hipster, or in a suit, or a certain type of person. You can sit next to someone who’s a normal worker. Also, coffee, it’s classless. Everyone drinks coffee and having coffee is such a nice ritual.

People meet in cafes and they talk, and they communicate. One of my pet hates is people on the train, at the train station or walking down the street, on their phones. In a café, people sit down and talk. Cafés give people breathing space, they give you time to just breathe and reflect and switch off for five minutes. You see people and they’re on their own and they’re just sitting looking out the window.

What is your favourite coffee, do you have a go-to order?

There are two coffees that I love, but it depends on the time of day. The coffee that I have in the morning is your basic flat white with no sugar and I have it at home.

Afternoons and night time, it’s an espresso. I love an espresso. I got into them in my early 20s in my backpacking days in Italy and Spain. Everywhere you went, whether it was a train station or a little hole in the wall, you would have a little espresso, and a lot of people have them with sugar. I don’t know if you know the origin of the espresso with sugar, but it comes from Italy, where the workers in the afternoon didn’t have enough money for lunch, so to give themselves a little kick to get them through the rest of the working day they’d go to a café, stand at the counter and order one with sugar.

What’s the best idea you’ve come up with in a café or over a coffee?

When I’m painting, I’m fully immersed in what I’m painting, but when I’m on my pushbike or in a café or having a swim, I get time for my brain to drift and float. When I’m in a café I can just sit and watch stuff. Most of the time, if I’m not in a meeting or having a chat to someone in a café, I’ve got my sketchbook out. I’m generally just drawing or doodling what’s around me or working on a drawing that’s I’ve started previously.

A lot of work in my journals tends to be what’s happening around me at that time. They’re like the raw ingredients for a painting. You might find if you look through my journals, particularly the watercolour journals, a lot of those little drawings and little watercolour sketches, they end up being oil paintings. They do it by default, because when you’re doing a small sketch, there’s no risk, you just do it and it takes 5-10 minutes and then you walk away. You might do 10 or 20 of these, but if you try and invest that time into something you think “I need to turn this into a painting”, you restrict your creativity and don’t take risks.

The artist Paul Klee once said: “A drawing is taking a line for a walk”. All you do is, you sit there with a coffee and you just sketch away taking the line for a walk,  then you flick the page and do another drawing and suddenly you come back to your drawings 2-3 weeks later and think, “oh wow”.

Would you ever try your hand at latte art, do you think you would be any good?

That is just insane what they do, I’d be so out of my depth. They pour and they turn the cup… oh my god, I would love to give it a go! That could be a little project.

When you’re mixing your paints to create colour, is there a science or method behind it, or do you just mix and hope for the best?

The hardest thing about doing anything professionally when someone is watching you do it, is to make it look simple and effortless. So, to make it look simple and effortless, you have to practise, practise, practise and keep doing it until it gets to the point where it looks like nothing at all.

Everything I do is deliberate, even though it looks very spontaneous and that I’m just playing, I know every colour back to front and know what every single colour is going to do. I know how to marry each colour and to put a colour next to another colour to make them almost symbiotic, so they work for each other. So, the answer is, there is a lot of research and thought and practise getting to the stage where you’re almost doing it second nature, that way you can get lost in the painting.

Where do you get your coffee from in Sydney? Do you go to the same place or mix it up?

 On the weekend or in the week, I like to travel to get my beans. I might go to Double Roasters in Marrickville or Campos or Toby’s Estate on City Road and grab my beans, it’s like a little ritual.

Around here near the studio, there’s this little hole in the wall café at Bondi Icebergs that I go to, otherwise it’s Speedos Café. I have a very short attention span and get bored easily, so I don’t go to the same place. I have got the loyalty of a cat when it comes to cafés and bars.

Stay tuned for part two of our interview and keep up to date with all things Stephen by following him on Instagram here.




As Aussie cafés continue to find new and innovative ways to push the industry forward, one brand in particular has emerged as the ultimate in customer experience, successfully delivering an end-to-end speciality coffee experience – with a twist.

When the team recently visited Veneziano‘s flagship café in Richmond, we were instantly blown away by the 360 coffee experience as soon as we walked through the door.

Since opening its flagship café in August 2018, Veneziano has been loudly and proudly pushing the boundaries of coffee and hospitality, forging a name for itself with the desire to educate and inspire.

Veneziano Coffee Richmond is an 80-seat dining space placed in the heart of its River Street roastery, training studio and headquarters, committed to bringing to life a ‘new era’ of coffee and food experiences. Not only does Veneziano use the space to showcase its culinary expertise and specialty coffee know-how, but the goal is to give customers a one of a kind holistic and immersive experience.

Veneziano’s Managing Director Craig Dickson said it was the company’s desire to continue its reputation as the smart coffee guru and share its knowledge with both their wholesale customers and local coffee community.

“What is unique about the space is that it is an all-encompassing coffee experience; customers are able to interact with many of the touchpoints of the specialty coffee industry, from seeing the shipments of coffee filled hessian bags arriving to witnessing the green beans going into the roaster first hand.

“This experience extends to the training courses we offer, our weekly interactive cupping sessions, to simply purchasing coffee or brewing equipment to take home,” he said.

At Veneziano, coffee is transformed into an experience that differs from the traditional act of buying coffee into meaningful, important experiences for the customer; the space has become a place to gain knowledge, promote interaction and ultimately serve.

However, the experience does not rely solely on great coffee and food, a key component is also the design of the space. Located in an industrial building, Veneziano Coffee Roasters features large double height windows to connect the space with the streetscape and the brand colours referenced in the concrete floor.

Steve McKeag, Director at Technē Architecture + Interior Design, explains that the existing style of the building and the ethos of the business which focuses on coffee acted as inspiration.

“The design mirrors the focus of the business – coffee – and exemplifies Veneziano’s brand identity. We have selected industrial and robust materials to complement not only the existing aesthetic but also the functional purpose of the building which is as a warehouse and roaster.

“We have played on the notion of being immersed and having a complete coffee experience in one place. There is also the celebration of the relationship between the micro roastery and warehouse,” said Steve.

Veneziano Coffee are Australia’s leading Specialty Coffee Roasters & Suppliers with distribution to café owners nationwide and their own flagship stores in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. For more information about Veneziano, click here.




American company Briggo has built a fully automated robotic “Coffee Haus” that it claims can make as many coffees as four human baristas. Has automation gone too far?

Results from the recent first Australian Barista Census (ABC) revealed that there are mixed feelings towards automation – with almost 39% of baristas feeling happy as it gives them more free time to focus on other aspects of coffee. However, 36% are wary of it coming into the industry, 15% are happy with some processes being automated and 10% think automation is threatening to the role of the barista. How will baristas feel now that an automatic robot has been developed to make as many coffees as four human baristas?

Austin-based company Briggo has done just that and has built a fully automated robotic “Coffee Haus” that is claims can make 100 cups of gourmet coffee an hour. According to Briggo, the gourmet coffee can be ordered via an app, giving customers control over ingredients, espresso shots, flavourings and temperature without any human interaction. The company claims no other business in the world has applied as much technology to “specialty coffee.”

Charles Purcell, journo for The Sydney Morning Herald, recently wrote an opinion piece on “Coffee Haus”, I, Human, refuse to drink coffee served by You, Robot. Charles said: “Robotics are meant to replace the 3-Ds jobs – dull, dirty and dangerous. (I suspect plumbers are safe. Robots will never get their heads around all those pipes and S-bends.) But there’s nothing 3-D about being a barista. The baristas I encounter love their jobs. What is the nourishment of coffee itself, if not an act of love? On any given day, baristas are the first strand in a web of human connection that lets us know we’re all in this together.”

We’d love to get your thoughts. Is this a sign that automation has gone too far and is it a threat to the role of the barista, Australia’s 10th fastest growing vocation? Do you think Australia’s coffee drinkers would welcome a fully robotic “Coffee Haus” to replace our beloved baristas? Shoot us an email or hit us up on Insta to let us know what you think.




Almond Breeze Barista Blend, the low sugar café almond milk, is buzzing to announce the launch of the countrywide Breezey Masters competition for the fourth consecutive year.

This year’s Breezey Masters competition will see Almond Breeze Barista Blend travel the length and breadth of Australia and New Zealand in search of the 2019 Breezey Masters champion. The team will kick off the regional heats in Brisbane on the 7th May, before travelling to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin and Perth over the next few months, then heading across the ditch and finishing up in Auckland, New Zealand on the 6th of August.

Encouraging talented Aussie baristas to pour their passion, competitors will be asked to compete in a series of rounds showcasing their best latte art hearts, tulips, swans and more, all using Almond Breeze Barista Blend. With the hope of impressing the industry judges, the winner of each regional heat will take home $1,000, plus will be invited to compete in the Breezey Masters grand final in Sydney at the end of September.

Last year, the competition saw Perth barista Vicky Chuaybamrung come out on top and be crowned the first ever female Breezey Masters champion. As part of her prize, Vicky was honoured in the ‘Barista Benchmark’ series which features exceptional baristas on the side of the Almond Breeze Barista Blend packs that are distributed across Australia. She will also be whisked off to North America for the Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston this month.

For more information on the Breezey Masters, or to register your interest, please click here.

We’re coming for you…
Brisbane (7th May 2019)
Sydney (21st May 2019)
Melbourne (4th June 2019)
Adelaide (17th June 2019)
Darwin (24th June 2019)
Perth (15th July 2019)
Auckland (6th August 2019)



The Espresso Mercenaries take home first prize at the inaugural Global Barista Challenge, hosted by Cafe Culture at the Melbourne Grand Prix.

It was all engines at full throttle at the Melbourne Grand Prix, held at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend of the 16th-17th March 2019. The annual event saw Mercedes racing driver Valtteri Bottas come top of the podium, followed by Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

Amongst the awesome entertainment in the F1 central fan zone area over the weekend was the Global Barista Challenge, hosted by our friends at Cafe Culture Magazine. The exciting race-style event, set to appeal to Melburnians who are known for their love of coffee, saw teams of four baristas compete against each other in several heats to make 15 drinks in just 10 minutes. The teams worked from a random menu card making a selection of different café beverages, simulating a real café experience. The judges then picked their favourite drink of each set.

The competition saw seven global teams competing, including two teams travelling all the way from China and North America. Tasked with judging the event were Lance Brown from Veneziano Coffee, Andy Freeman from Coffee Snobs, Justin Metcalfe, head judge of WBC, Phil Di Bella from ICT and Di Bella Coffee and Jeff Dutton from Alchemy Cordial.

After competing in several tense heats, the Espresso Mercenaries came out on top this year, taking home a $10,000 prize pool and just pipping finalists the Mars Baristas to the post. The Espresso Mercenaries featured some of Australia’s finest baristas, including Sam Taylor from Soul Origin, NSW latte art champion and Almond Breeze Barista Blend Breezey Masters champion, Craig Simon Australian Barista and Champion and finalist for the World Barista competition, Caleb Cha, World Latte champion and team captain, Jeremy Regan, WBC judge.

Almond Breeze Barista Blend were proud to be the alternative milk of choice for the Global Barista Challenge. Other equipment and products used throughout the competition included two custom built Café Racers from Sanremo Australia, Anfim espresso grinders from Espresso Company Australia, powdered chocolate for mocha and cappuccino drinks from Luxe Brew and much more. The coffee was provided by official Grand Prix coffee sponsor Genovese coffee. The crowd were lucky enough to be treated to the Almond Breeze experience with samples also being handed out between competition rounds.

For more information on the Global Barista Challenge, head to




The Easter Bunny has come early with ONA Coffee‘s new ‘Easter Egg’ blend and we are here. for. it.

Ou friends at ONA Coffee have announced the launch of their Easter Egg coffee blend, just in time for the Easter holidays.

This special blend crafted by the ONA Coffee roasting team has been created using a mixture of single origin coffees from Africa, India and Papua New Guinea. As a milk-based coffee, it has a flavour like Cremé Eggs and milk chocolate… the actual dream.

According to ONA Coffee’s Head Roaster, Sam Corra, the mixture of these coffees create the unique ‘Easter Egg’ flavours of the blend, “The coffees we are using are created using specific techniques, which accentuates different flavour profiles in the cup,” he said.

“We are using carbonic maceration-processed coffees from Ethiopia to bring complexity of sweetness and texture to the blend, and the coffees from India and Papua New Guinea help to balance this sweetness and prolong the experience on the palate.”

ONA want everyone to be able to be able to enjoy the new flavour, so have kindly included all tasting notes and recipes to create the perfect cup on their website.

“We want people to be able to replicate the recipes and methods we use when they are in their own home,” says Sam.

“We utilise QR codes and URLs on our packaging to direct people towards our online database, which contains recipes and information about each coffee we currently stock.”

So, what are you waiting for? Head to to get your Easter Egg blend, but be quick as it’s only available until late April.




“Newtown and Brewtown are the perfect fit as we’re all about sustainable products and getting the most value out of each item and each dish and passing that on to our customers.”

First opening its doors in 2013, Brewtown Newtown was one of the original big cafés, along with The Grounds, to hit the café scene in Sydney.

Playing up to the cool warehouse-style building that Brewtown calls home, the interiors are a perfect balance of contemporary and rustic, with exposed brick walls, high ceilings and industrial furniture.

Offering a delicious selection of bakery goodies, including tasty pastries and their signature (and extremely Instagrammable) “brewnut” cronuts, which you’ll see plastered all over social media, Brewtown is a hipster haven tucked away just off Newtown’s busy King Street. It’s an ideal spot for a light brunch or relaxed coffee with friends whilst taking in Newtown’s bohemian neighbourhood.

Pete, Brewtown’s owner told us that the Brewtown team is more like a family, with the name ‘Brewtown’ linked with the highest amount of respect and integrity within the hospitality industry. An icon since opening its doors back in 2013, Brewtown’s rise has been off the back of hard work, amazing staff and the loyalty of their returning customers, who the team always take pride in serving to the utmost highest standard, every time. That’s the Brewtown way.

Continually striving for new and innovative ways to keep things fresh and to challenge themselves, Brewtown will be launching its new autumn / winter menu this month, following the success of their summer menu. Switching up the menus seasonally allows them to mix things up for their loyal customers. Their autumn / winter menu will see the return of some of their old favourites, including corn and zucchini fritters and eggs benny.

So what else can we expect to see from the Brewtown crew in 2019? The team are working on new show-stopping and innovative cakes and sweets, as well as introducing more ways to present new Brewtown coffee blends. They are also in the process of looking at opening the doors after hours, serving food and alcohol at night and becoming “Brewtown @ Night”, within the next six months… so watch this space.

If you happen to find yourself in Newtown taking in the hustle and bustle of the trendy suburb, make sure you swing by and and enjoy a Barista Blend (of course) latte and one of Brewtown’s mouthwatering cronuts, you won’t regret it.

To follow Brewtown on Instagram, click here.




Celeste Norris, from Good 2 Go café on Melbourne’s Hosier Lane, has been crowned Australia’s ‘Barista of Choice’ on the inaugural National Barista Day on Friday 1st March.

Created by and Almond Breeze Barista Blend, the day has been designed especially to recognise and shout out the people who are keeping Australia’s coffee scene thriving.

The Australian Barista Census research released today to mark the industry celebration confirms that 82% of Australian baristas own or work in an independent café*, and 75% of Australians enjoy at least one cup of coffee per day**, reinforcing the need to officially honour the 30,000+ baristas in Australia.

After finding out the news, Celeste, who is a key member of the coffee community in Melbourne, commented: “To be crowned Australia’s first ‘Barista of Choice’ is just incredible. Being a barista is more than a job for me as it enables me to use my passion to teach people valuable skills to improve their lives,” she said.

National Barista Day received more than 2,000 nominations recognising outstanding baristas from all over the country, including Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory, Henley Beach in South Australia, Wanneroo in Western Australia and Hobart, Tasmania. The following nomination was received for Celeste, which helped secure her win: “Celeste is not only a brilliant coffee barista, making some of the best coffees in Melbourne, but she is an outstanding member of the community. Working with the vulnerable population of Melbourne, both young and old, to support them at all aspects of life. She also teaches them the important life skill of making a delicious coffee at the Good 2 Go café.”

As Australia’s ‘Barista of Choice’, Celeste goes home with $5,000 cash to help push her career forward, plus secured a one on one masterclass with current World Barista Champion from Poland, Aga Rojewska. Nine superstar baristas also received special commendations today and will receive $1,000 cash to supercharge their careers.

Australia and New Zealand Country Manager of Almond Breeze Barista Blend Michael McNulty was thrilled with the first event of its kind, he commented: “Celebrating the people in Australia’s 10th fastest growing job was a natural fit for us and we’re so proud to be bringing together the coffee community like this.”

He continued: “This process has really highlighted how pivotal the barista is to the community and people’s lives. Barista schools are important, but some of the stories about the amazing customer service and friendship our baristas provide can’t be taught. This demonstrates what an incredible coffee scene we have in Australia.”

“Huge congratulations to Celeste from Good 2 Go, she is the deserving winner. The response to National Barista Day has been phenomenal and we can’t wait to do it all again next year,” Michael finished.

To coincide with National Barista Day, Almond Breeze Barista Blend has also released the first ever Australian Barista Census, with the full e-Book available to download at




Sean Edwards, managing director at Café Culture, has been involved in the evolution of the global cafe/coffee industry over the last 22 years. In his second guest blog, Sean discusses the secrets to designing a stand out café menu.

The fun thing about a café menu is it can be very flexible and take on any food theme to suit the clientele. In Australia, the café menu in specialty cafés has developed into almost a fine dining menu with breakfast being the big service and highest revenue maker. Creativity is endless for café menus and the rules can be broken and redesigned around the common menu items that customers expect. The following tips will help you understand the profitable café menu.

The café menu needs to be relatively straightforward and easily performed by all café kitchen staff and be easy translated to the customer.

A simple bread-based menu, which only requires toasting, is the most cost effective of all café menus. Salad based menus are also inexpensive to make and are popular for the lunch service as a large percentage of these diners are women. Café menus often have some meat but are smaller portions, not like a restaurant.

Most cakes and biscuits can be purchased in from a supplier and they need to have a point of difference compared to the usual cake shop retail bakes. Cake and coffee are great money options for the in-between breaks like morning and afternoon tea and later at night for longer opening cafés.

The smarter café structures that are running at a 20% profit tend to have lower labour, timesaving items on the menu. They are opting to buy in gourmet products and re-design these food items to suit their theme, changing the look with salad and garnish techniques. Many of these popular café menu items can also be made pre-service. Thus, allowing for less staff in the kitchen over busy times and best use of space. Display cabinets are good for the sale of this type of food service, as people eat with their eyes. Being artistic with food preparation will also give the café menu better saleability. Garnish techniques need to be practiced and there are many books and social media sites where these skills are well illustrated to help with this.

When designing the layout for a café menu, it should be clear and tasteful. Customers should be able to read the menu in a reasonable length of time, thus not slowing down service time. A menu should have flair yet be concise and punctual. Many of my hospitality friends love picking out spelling mistakes from badly written unprofessional menus. This is especially important on specials boards, where they are often written in a hurry before service by one of the floor staff with unclear guidance from the kitchen.

A well-designed menu will also generate revenue in its description. You will find this with more up-market establishments describing their product to sound gastronomic in its structure and you don’t mind paying more for the meal if it lives up to its description. You can add another $2 on top of sale price formula to a well described menu item. However, a menu must live up to its promise – you cannot deceive your customers as they won’t come back.

Remember the phraseology of a menu should be totally informative but not ambiguous. It should enhance the perception and imagination of the customer enough to make a purchase. The menu is part of the marketing in your café business and should have adequate planning time put into its presentation. Looking at areas of its presentation, the seasonal aspects of the menu, pricing and timing.

The menu should run under a menu card system with photos of all meals taken and placed in view of all kitchen staff, including floor staff. Look at applying stock systems to save dollars with check procedures for stock control, smart purchasing of bulk products and wastage.

A smart café menu needs to have a signature to the presentation to maintain a good price structure. I like running a specials menu on busy weekend days, imitating examples of other popular trendy cafés and adapting with local product. They food sections of newspapers and magazines often have pictures in the local Sunday lift outs, they can help with garnish techniques and descriptions. Also, special does not mean a cheaper price it means specially prepared. Pricing needs to be worked out by portion costs added then times by 3.5, inclusive of GST.

Total sum of portions x 3.5 = Minimum sale price

I would always look at including café regulars on a new menu with examples like banana bread, almond short breads, Caesar salads, friands, Turkish pides, fruit loaves. People are creatures of habit, so they tend to go for things they recognise.

Another way to enhance a café menu is with eclectic tableware. Big plates will add a touch of class to the basic meal. Try to fluff and puff food so it sits up high on the plate, this will give the dish a wow factor. This is a restaurant chef’s concept, and five-star cooking skills and techniques can easily be adopted in some parts of the café menu presentation.



Countrywide, the largest independently owned wholesale distributors in Australia, has launched its hunt for their Café of the Year 2019.

Countrywide Food Service Distributors has launched its search for the Countrywide Café of the Year, where one lucky café will not only take home the accolade, but win a cool $25,000.

If you’d like to enter you cafe, all you have to do is:


Purchase minimum $150 of products from your local Countrywide Distributor between 1st February 2019 to 5th April 2019. Keep a copy of your invoice for uploading with your online registration.


Register by completing the form with your details and uploading your Countrywide Distributor invoice. Please note registrations open 11th February 2019, 9:00AM AEDST and close 5th April 2019, 5:00PM AEDST.


Your local Countrywide Distributor will deliver your Café of the Year Promo Kit to you. Display promo materials in your café and encourage your customers to vote for you at every opportunity. Use social media to spread the word and make sure you tag and hashtag them! @cwcafeoftheyear #cwcafeoftheyear.


Drive your own success in the competition! Make sure customers vote for you online via the competition website. Most votes overall takes the title! Regional and Weekly prizes will be awarded too. Terms and Conditions apply and are available on the Countrywide Café of the Year website.

For more information, visit the website here and follow Countrywide on Instagram and Facebook for up to date news.



In honour of all the 40,000+ baristas in Australia, Almond Breeze Barista Blend is launching National Barista Day on the 1st March 2019.

According to the 2016 Australian census, the barista is the tenth fastest growing job in the country. So, to give thanks to those keeping us caffeinated with their frothy cups of goodness, we have decided to launch National Barista Day.

Put the date in your diary, because this Friday 1st March is Australia’s first ever National Barista Day. If there’s one thing we’re proud of here, it’s our coffee and the amazing people behind it.

Does your barista always have time for a chat? Does your barista always remember your order and have it ready for you when you walk through the cafe door? Were you taught barista skills by the best in the business? Or are you a barista and think you deserve a pat on the back? If the answer to any of those is yes, then it’s time to award your barista (or yourself) and show some your appreciation National Barista Day.

The prize pool for the winning baristas includes a ‘Barista Breezey Bonus’ cash reward, a money can’t buy 1-1 workshop with a world leading barista and more.

We know baristas do it for the love of coffee, so the aim of the ‘Barista Breezey Bonus’ will be to help push the winners’ careers forward by giving them the financial help towards achieving their goals. Whether that’s to travel, develop their skills through training, or to help kickstart their own café ownership dreams.

Voting is now open, to vote for your barista (or yourself) please click here. Winners will be decided by a panel of esteemed judges and announced on National Barista Day on Friday 1st March.



As Australian consumers become more aware of the health impact of excessive sugar consumption, Almond Breeze Barista Blend is continuing to serve cafés with a great tasting and high performing low-sugar dairy alternative with between five and ten times less sugar than other barista almond milks.

Almond Breeze Country Manager Australia and New Zealand Michael McNulty says it’s the responsibility of food and beverage manufacturers to provide healthy alternatives with low sugar for consumers.

“The whole marketplace is talking about sugar and low-sugar products. The challenge for producers is to create products that are low in sugar but also satisfy the same criteria in terms of taste and quality that consumers have had for the past decade,” Michael says.

“We are very keen to promote low sugar as a practice, but also advise the marketplace that we have products that are of a high quality, despite their low sugar content. All other café almond milks use five to ten times more sugar than Almond Breeze Barista Blend.”

Sugar is used in most dairy alternatives as a shortcut to allow the products to stretch and froth in a similar manner to dairy milk.

Almond Breeze Barista Blend only contains 0.2 grams of sugar per 100ml. Almond Breeze’s years of expertise and knowledge of almonds enables them to keep the sugar content low whilst still ensuring it tastes great and meets the needs of baristas with a performance level equivalent to cow’s milk.

“It’s a combination of taste and functionality. Our product doesn’t split when heated and has great taste and texture, which is why it’s the choice of baristas and café owners,” he says.

“Through Blue Diamond, we have the benefit of being in the almond business for more than 100 years,” he says. “We believe we’re sourcing the best almonds with the highest level of knowledge and generational education, which is why we’re able to produce such a high-quality product without the addition of sugar.”

Michael says that while the Almond Breeze Barista Blend has been low in sugar since it was released to the market in 2011, the company has been forced to reiterate its product credentials to café owners and their staff due to a high level of miscommunication in the marketplace.

“We were amazed that there was so much misinformation out in the marketplace about sugar,” Michael says. “We’ve been astonished by how much the café network wants to adopt and spread that message.”

“It’s very important that we don’t mislead the consumer, even unintentionally, about their sugar intake, particularly in a café scenario when the consumer doesn’t get to see the nutritional information on the side of a pack.”

Michael says Almond Breeze Barista Blend will look to spread its low sugar message through one-on-one education throughout the whole supply chain.

“We aim to highlight that protein and almond milks do contain sugar, and if you want a low sugar option, Barista Blend is the best choice that you could make.”



First Shot Barista Training is a Sydney-based company that aims to bridge the gap between people looking to start working in coffee and cafés looking for qualified labour. The aim is to help people get their first jobs as baristas by providing extensive and professional training. We caught up with co-founder Simon Gautherin to get the lowdown.

What sparked your interest in moving into barista training?

I’ve always more or less been in education, I’ve done a lot of tutoring in the past, mostly in maths, and I realised that one of my biggest strengths is conveying knowledge and passion for something. Eventually I decided to apply the same principles to coffee: sharing knowledge and igniting passion.

How did First Shot Barista Training start?

I founded First Shot Barista Training in late 2017 along with my barista friend Le Nguyen after moving back to Australia from Europe. Whilst working and consulting for cafes over the last few years, we realised there was a growing shortage of qualified baristas, but at the same time a lot of people who were wanting to start working as baristas but finding it absurdly difficult to get started.

Usually if you want to become a lawyer, you go to law school. If you want to become a professional chef, you’ll attend a cooking school or pass a degree. There is no such thing in specialty coffee. Yes, there are a bunch of certifications available out there (many of which are extremely questionable in terms of quality…) but none of them are professionally recognised.

This is the issue we wanted to tackle.

What makes First Shot stand out as a barista training course compared to others?

I’d be lying if I was answering anything else than the quality of our training. Le and I are professional baristas and we spent months designing our classes, and we still tweak them on a weekly basis. Everything that is included in our training has one specific goal in mind: making sure our students get a barista job after.

We provide individual training or in groups of 2 exclusively. Most of our content is sent before the class, so we can dedicate more time to the actual practice. We don’t believe in large group trainings when it comes to practicing, it is the same as taking driving classes with 4 students in the car, only one car be driving, and the others are watching…

Can you talk us through the kind of training you offer?

Our main focus is to help people find a job and ace their barista trial. Therefore, most of the training we offer is designed for beginners. During those trainings, students have to read all of the theory before coming to practice so we can spend more time actually making coffee.

At the end of our training, students are able to:
– Understand the basic principles of coffee brewing: how water and ground coffee chemically react to form a coffee beverage
– Make great espressos
– Steam silky milk
– Pour basic latte art patterns
– Analyse order dockets and make all of the drinks on a coffee menu
– Clean the equipment and their section

We also do offer more advanced training such us filter coffee, advanced latte art, how to dial in an espresso, improving your workflow and more.

We usually do advanced training with our former students who come back to us wanting to learn more. It’s always a pleasure to work with people who are eager to learn more about coffee!

What do you think are the do’s and don’ts of barista training?

Do: Read, read and read and watch content. There are plenty of things to know about coffee making that is pure theory and you can do it on your own.

Barista training is essentially 60% theory and 40 % practice. People should be paying to practice, not for someone to read them things they can Google.

Also, each and every one of us is different and requires specific attention. We all learn at a different pace and only professional teachers can correctly convey knowledge to different people.

Don’t: Don’t go to large group training, don’t pay for theory, don’t spend too much time on latte art (milk texturising is important only, latte art isn’t) and don’t trust certifications (besides CQI and SCA).

What advice would you give anyone looking to do a barista training course in Australia?

You need to understand that baristas in specialty coffee are professionals for the most part and you’re very unlikely to be able to fully handle an entire coffee section by yourself after one barista course.

Making great coffee is one thing but serving high volumes of coffee under pressure is different and it takes time. Be patient, work hard, and choose a training course that matches your goals and expectations.

For more information, head to the First Shot Barista Training website here.



Did you know that Australians use an estimated one billion disposable coffee cups each year? That’s close to 2,700,000 takeaway cups thrown in the bin every day. That’s crazy, and it’s unsustainable.

Australians are a caffeine-loving people and our café culture is something that should be celebrated, but the subsequent environmental impact isn’t. Takeaway coffee cups appear to be made from paper, leading many people to think that they can be recycled. However, to meet health and safety standards, each cup is coated in a thin layer of plastic which prevents it from being broken down and turned into recycled paper.

Additionally, most takeaway cups are made from real trees and not from recycled materials, so it’s a double environmental whammy. Doesn’t sound great does it? That’s because it’s not, but there’s one easy change you can make to reduce harmful landfill without skipping a beat – or a coffee.

Using a KeepCup, or any sort of reusable cup to grab your takeaway coffee day-to-day can have an enormous impact on the environment. If you think a couple of takeaway coffee cups ending up in the bin each day makes no difference, just look at the massive reduction in plastic bags we saw last year when Coles and Woolies stopped providing them. Far from being the end of the world, everyone just pulled up their socks and started remembering their reusable bags! It just goes to show what a community can achieve in a short space of time when everyone is in it together.

KeepCups were the brainchild of Melbourne cafe owners Jamie and Abigail Forsyth in 2007. They were concerned about the volume of packaging being consumed and set out to create a barista standard reusable cup for people to enjoy better coffee on the go. Today, KeepCups are used in more than 65 countries around the world and help to divert millions of disposable cups from landfill every day.

On top of being an environmental hero, using a reusable cup could save you money. Most cafes provide a discount on your brew if you bring your own cup. If you drink as much coffee as we do, that’ll add up!

Some coffee roasters are already leading the way here in Australia. Specialty coffee roasters Single O cut their single use cup waste in half in just 12 months but encouraging their customers to embrace reuse. The team introduced a bunch of initiatives, including installing a short stay bar – inspired in part by the standing espresso culture in Italy – to encourage people to drink in, loaning out ceramic cups, introducing branded KeepCups, and making charitable donations for each takeaway cup saved.

Australia is a leader in coffee, and we want to lead the way in sustainability too as the world becomes more focused on change. Since our two major supermarkets stopped providing single use plastic bags to its customers, approximately 1.5 billion less plastic bags have been used just within a six-month period. That’s huge! Imagine how many less takeaway coffee cups would end up in landfill each year if reusable cups became the new normal. 

If you’ve got any tips or tricks to remembering your KeepCups or if your café offers a discount for using one, drop us a line. Alternatively, if you don’t have one and you’d like an Almond Breeze KeepCup, hit us up @baristablendaus or



Nominations for The Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) Eleonora Genovese Australian Coffee Woman of the Year and Rising Star Awards are now open.

The awards, in collaboration with the Genovese family, recognise the many contributions Eleonora Genovese made to the Australian coffee community. Eleonora displayed many qualities that women in the coffee industry should aspire towards, such as drive, leadership, and passion to unite the local and international coffee communities.

Eleonora sadly lost her brave battle with cancer on 19 September 2015 and the annual awards are a fantastic way to honour her legacy and keep her memory alive.

Previous Australian Coffee Woman of the Year winners include Sharon Jan of Seven Miles and Melissa Caia, who is the Coffee Academy Teacher and Coordinator at William Angliss Institute.

Eligible candidates for the Eleonora Genovese Australian Coffee Woman of the Year Award must demonstrate a career of 10 years or more in the coffee industry, be actively involved in the coffee community (such as active promotion of the industry, volunteer work in competition, judging or event assistance), be a mentor in their line of work, and demonstrate commitment to growing and supporting the Australian coffee scene.

A Rising Star Award will also be presented to an up and coming industry female who has made a great impression in their field of work, regardless of their length of time in the industry.

If you know a special lady that fits the bill, head over to the Australian Speciality Coffee website and submit your nomination here.



Sean Edwards has been involved in the evolution of the global cafe/coffee industry over the last 22 years. Sean and his team at Café Culture International have created some major milestones in the café and coffee industry. Innovations like The Golden Bean, Café Culture magazine, Café Biz, The Breezey Masters are just some of the projects that they helped start and pioneer. Sean has built his reputation within the industry around education and he has steered the industry in Australia to the highest level which is looked upon from the rest of the world as a leading industry.

Every year we see new innovations in products, equipment and services, which come on trend. Trends and concepts don’t always stick around they can become just a quick point of interest and then fade away as quickly as they appeared. I have looked back at this year to see what has come on trend and found good traction in the Australian café industry. It has been an exciting year because we have seen major innovations which have helped the bottom line of many café businesses and also changed the way cafés are being seen by customers and operated by their staff.

The Smart payment gateway

There is nothing more important in a business as getting paid for your service. Technology has been around for a while in the café payment system process. We have seen more businesses switch from Eftpos terminals now to tablets with card scanning functions. The Commonwealth Bank spent years developing their smart payment gateway “Albert” which many cafés have taken a liking to because of the optional programs and basic point of sale functions that can be integrated within this system. Square card readers have pushed ahead into the café market and are also developing more functional systems that have multi uses, saving time in remedial backend office functions like daily reconciliation and customer and product spend data collection. Justin Bromage from Uniwell is well ahead of the market in customising payment gateway into Uniwell’s tailored café point of sale systems. Justin said picking the right payment gateway can save you big time on transaction fees and these are negotiable at the start of your initial start up.

The Sustainable Cafe

Sustainability concepts in the café are not going away! Most people with any sort of education can see the world is changing quickly and the visible environmental damage by consuming humans is very noticeable. People now realise that wasteful habits need to be rectified otherwise the end is in sight, which is not good for the next generation. The reusable cup usage is growing and there is more choice in the marketplace for different options. City offices are switching out paper cups for corporate branded reusable cups and the pressure is now on for cafés to offer a reusable cup option.

Plastic straws and plastic bags are almost gone. There has been little or no kickback with most retailers who took this option to get rid of these packaging problems. Paper straw companies have been overwhelmed with new orders as cafés and bars take up this option for their beverages. Stainless steel straws are common and can be carried by the customer, a great retail sale item for a café.

Automation in coffee

It has taken a good ten years before we have seen good quality technology develop in the espresso coffee market. There is a number of bean to cup machines that will deliver good quality espresso at the same level as a traditional espresso machine and barista. The quality equipment is expensive but has no labour. One of the best innovations in the market today is the PuqPress. This compact tamping device out of Amsterdam has solved the inconsistency and workplace safety issues around hand tamping. The PuqPress speeds up service in a busy espresso bar, saving again on labour time. Brett Bolwell, the Principle of Barista Technology, has been flooded with orders this year from large café franchises groups who want to eliminate workplace strain injuries from hand tamping out of their workplaces.

Milk delivery and steaming systems are getting more refined in their quality presentation of steamed milk. Talking with Craig Dickson, partner in Veneziano coffee in Melbourne, he explained they have been very impressed when they installed the Uber Milk system, saving up to seven man hours a day in their busy espresso bar “First Pour”.  Automated milk systems will be the next biggest evolution in the espresso coffee program, especially considering that most coffee served in Australian cafés is milk based.

It’s been a fun year of seeing positive changes come into play that are going to change the whole café scenery. We have seen the real struggle of café owners trying to run profitable business models but have battled with higher wages, increased energy costs and an overstock of new café businesses coming online. My biggest tip to café owners is to not ignore change, but embrace it with open arms and make some profit.

Sean Edwards
Managing Director Café Culture International.



Discover the official Christmas gift guide, featuring all the essentials to keep any coffee fan happy this festive season. 

Aerobie AeroPress Coffee Maker, $32.90

An essential for any coffee addict, the Aerobie AeroPress Coffee Maker will ensure that whatever your recipient does over the Christmas period, they can enjoy an outstanding coffee on the go. A fast, easy and convenient way to brew coffee whilst away from home camping, hiking, travelling and more.

Henry Bib Apron, $29.99

Available in a variety of colours, the Henry Bib Apron is a cool and contemporary choice for any barista. 

Acaia Pearl Brewing Scale, $229

Featuring a rapid 20 millisecond response, the Acaia Pearl Brewing Scale accurately allows for coffee and water weighing in real-time. That’s the kind of pin-point precision we like.

Jibbi Jugs, from $20 upwards

Available in a number of designs with different spouts depending on pouring style preference, plus fun colour variations, Jibbi Jugs are the industry leader for precision latte art and are totally worth the investment. 

Coffee Covered: A Photographic Journey of Coffee from Farm to Cup, $64.95 (USD)

The perfect coffee table book for any barista’s pad. This photographic book takes the reader through the journey of coffee’s humble origins to how it ends up brewed in your cup.

Reg Barber Tamper, $119 

A top pick for both professional and home baristas, the Reg Barber Tamper not only looks great in any cafe or kitchen, but the 58mm base is precision manufactured to be perfectly flat, allowing for consistently even tamps.


ONA Coffee Christmas Pudding Blend, from $16

Christmas pudding, in a cuppa? What more could any coffee lover want.

All images supplied by Cafe Culture.



“The Heart Cafe team have an amazing shared energy, knowing that we are part of something very special and at the heart of everything we are doing, we are contributing to social good.”

The idea for Heart Cafe came about in 2016 when Wayside Chapel, a charity and Parish Mission of the Uniting Church in Australia, expanded into Bondi Beach to oversee the management of a chapel and community centre and spread their mission of creating a community with no ‘us and them’ further into Sydney. Wayside then saw the opportunity to launch a social enterprise cafe that would become a community hub and provide employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth through the Wingspan Project. And so, Heart Cafe was born.

Located in the heart on Bondi, Heart Cafe first opened its doors in November this year and not only serves real food and great coffee, with love, but also returns hope to the lives of disadvantaged young people by supporting them into paid hospitality traineeships at the cafe. Any profits from Heart Cafe are then channeled back into funding the Wingspan Project, supporting young people facing barriers to employment, by providing paid hospitality traineeships within the cafe for 12 months. In addition, Heart Cafe trainees receive a Cert II in Hospitality, providing them with ongoing opportunities for employment in the industry. Staff, locals and the wider Sydney community know that their patronage is at the heart of transforming lives and contributing to the greater good.

The cafe’s look is light, bright and plant-filled with a modern and contemporary feel. The bi-fold windows facing onto Roscoe Street ensure plenty of sunshine comes in and gives a light airy feel to the cafe interior. The colour scheme is a white and soft grey, reflected in the Moroccan style tiling. The custom-made distressed timber bench tops add a homely warmth and dark grey and black metal highlights give a hint of an industrial feel.

The team work together to create a community by serving a delicious wholefood menu using fresh, local ingredients including some organic produce sourced directly from the Wayside Chapel community garden. They are proud of what they serve on each plate and that their entire supply chain is completely aligned with their mission.

So next time you’re in Bondi, pop by Heart Cafe, grab a cup of coffee from Eastern Suburbs coffee purveyors Gypsy Espresso and help support this amazing initiative by giving back to the local Sydney community.



Launched in 2012, Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE), the leading coffee event in Australia, is back for 2019 and promises to be bigger.

This year, Australia’s first and only coffee-dedicated trade show MICE moves to its new home in central Melbourne at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, and promises to be bigger and better.

Now in its seventh year, the leading coffee event is taking place from the 7th to 9th February 2019. From roasters to espresso machines, dairy and dairy alternatives to packaging, and furniture to finance, MICE2019 has it all. The aim is to connect buyers and sellers, and bring industry members together under one roof.

MICE2019 will host the Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) Australian Coffee Championships, including the Brewers Cup, Latte Art Championship, Pura and Dairy Farmers Barista Championship, AMC Roasting Championship, and TCX Cup Tasters Championship.

The 2018 event saw a massive 11,043 café owners, roasters, baristas, equipment manufacturers and service providers attend, an attendee increase of 14.5 per cent on the year prior, with people visiting from an incredible 39 countries including Burundi, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Great Britain, India, Laos, Myanmar, the Netherlands, New Caledonia, Peru, Russia, South Africa, and United Arab Emirates.

The Almond Breeze Barista Blend team will be there in full force and are looking forward to meeting people from across the industry, so if you’re planning on going, make sure you swing by and say hey.

For more information about the event, plus how to purchase tickets, head to the MICE website here.



“I smile every day when I walk into Brick Lane and see my super vibrant, friendly team interacting with all our loyal customers.”

Located on Guildford Lane, one of the oldest laneways in Melbourne’s CBD, the old red bricks combined with the green plant life give Brick Lane a real relaxed, hipster vibe.

The Melbourne hidden gem is run by Lindsay, who has been in the cafe, restaurant and bar scene for over thirty years, and his wife Trish, who the cafe owes its cool interior style and beautiful leafy interiors to. Trish has a natural flare for interior design, as well as all the greenery that climbs the cafe’s walls, which is evident as you walk into the cafe.

With a menu packed full of beautifully presented, fresh and hearty dishes, Brick Lane is the perfect spot in the heart of Melbourne to grab a delicious breakfast or tasty brunch with a cup of coffee of choice.

The coffee beans at Brick Lane are from a local supplier, coffee experts Rumble Coffee Roasters, who are based in Kensington, an inner suburb of Melbourne. According to Lindsay, Rumble Coffee offer great service and the beans taste great, plus the Brick Lane customers love the silky texture of the coffee.

With a passionate, positive and reliable team, this is instantly noticeable when you walk through the doors, there is a great vibe and it is clear that the team want to give their customers the best dining experience with the best food, and of course the best coffee.

Whether you’re a traveller, Melbourne local or stumble across it accidentally, you’re all welcomed with open arms. So next time you’re in the city, be sure to seek out Lindsay and the team at Brick Lane.



Coinciding with National Recycling Week taking place across Australia this week, Simply Cups has launched an exciting new initiative to encourage Australians to recycle their coffee cups.

This week (12th-18th November) marks National Recycling Week, a week dedicated to encouraging councils, workplaces, schools and individuals across Australia to brush up on their knowledge and become successful recyclers. Through educating people to make small changes, we can all work together to look after our planet.

One of the biggest ways coffee drinkers can help reduce waste is by recycling their coffee cups. We’re starting to see more and more KeepCups as they are growing in popularity, however drinking from a takeaway cup is still the go-to option for many Aussies. Coffee cups play a big part in the amount of waste we produce, with millions of takeaway coffee cups ending up in landfills each year.

The good news is, the guys over at Simply Cups have recently launched an awesome new initiative, Australia’s first coffee cup recycling program, which allows businesses and schools to close the loop on coffee cups with the aim of diverting divert 11 million cups, which is approximately 110 tonnes, from going to landfills.

The team has set up designated collection tubes and bins across 339 locations in New South Wales, as well as the services to collect the cups. After they are collected, the cups are transported to a holding facility where they are bailed then transferred to the processing plant. And the best bit? Simply Cups work with innovators to then recycle and upcycle the cups into recycled, and recyclable, products, rather than sending them to a landfill. These products include bench seats, kerbing and car stops, how awesome?!

To find out more information, including where you can recycle your cups, head over to Simply Cups’ website.



“Port Lincoln is a beautiful place and deserves all the attention it receives – and we thought it deserved another stellar place to show it off on the doorstep of it all.”

First opening its doors in October 2014, Rogue & Rascal is the passion project of Jemma and Elouise, who after completing university, wanted to head back to their roots in South Australia and share their favourite parts of the metropolitan dining and cafe style with the regional areas where they grew up.

Situated on the beautiful seafront in Port Lincoln, the girls built Rogue and Rascal from the ground up (from the tiling, the benches to the original paint job) using Pinterest as a main source of inspiration. Their budget was tight, but that’s proven to be a blessing for them in the long term, giving them the flexibility to switch up their look without feeling tied down to an expensive fit out. They’ve been known to paint murals in unsuspecting places, then paint over them to showcase a local art exhibition, then take that down and fill every nook and cranny with greenery, all depending on the season. Their cafe’s look is constantly changing and evolving, making it fun and exciting for customers.

An integral part of Rogue & Rascal’s super passionate and friendly team is their young gun barista India, who works the machine nearly every day of the week, pumping out 45+ kilos a week to a packed out cafe using local roaster Eyre Roasted. Eyre Roasted has helped the cafe find a balance between speciality coffee and something that’s dark, approachable and familiar to lots of old-style coffee drinkers, while still delivering a bang-on, far-out delicious brew every time.

Music is of course important to set the tone for any cafe. Currently on rotation in Rogue & Rascal is a groovy playlist, featuring a lot of Goldlink, Kaytranada, Anderson Paak etc., Cloud Control for afternoon vibes, instrumental hip hop for when they really want to crank some Warren G, but there’s too many mums and bubs around, plus much more, all depending on the mood.

The future of Rogue & Rascal continues to grow. Last year they doubled in size to include an awesome upstairs balcony bar, And The Rebel, that’s open on weekends and is an amazing space for customers to come and let their hair down and smash an espresso martini. This has meant that the team has moved into catering, seeing an increase in house made delicious treats. Their focus on big events also continues to grow, Rogue & Rascal ran the bar at Handpicked Festival this year and have other exciting regional festival collaborations lined up for the team to collaborate on. The girls would love to see another Rogue/Rascal/Rebel pop-up in another spectacular part of the countryside one day in the future, so watch this space.



This year’s Breezey Masters saw Perth girl Vicky Chuaybamrung come out on top and be crowned the first ever female Breezey Masters champion. 

This year’s Breezey Masters saw eleven finalists from across the globe battle it out in intense heats showcasing their incredible barista talents using Almond Breeze Barista Blend to produce their finest latte art in front of a packed out room at The Grounds of Alexandria.

Each of the contestants held their nerve across five rounds to produce their best hearts, rosettas, tulips and swans, then finishing up with a free pour of choice. The talent was through the roof, making it a tough job for the esteemed judges; legendary latte artist Jibbi Little, the awesome Dee Alam of Sanremo Coffee Machines and the super knowledgeable Tony Macri of Coffee Brothers.

The competition was a huge success, with competitors from five different countries taking part, but at the end of the evening, there could only be one Breezey Masters champion. And this year, it was the year of the girls, with Vicky Chuaybamrung from Darkstar Coffee in Perth taking the Breezey Masters crown and Brisbane’s Sarah Jin from Extraction Artisan winning the latte art smackdown, taking away a cool $500. Special mention to Ben Lewis from the UK and Matt Sharp from ACT who rounded up the top three behind Vicky.

As part of her prize, Vicky will be honoured in our Barista Benchmark series that features exceptional baristas on the side of the Almond Breeze Barista Blend pack which is distributed to cafes across Australia, so keep your eyes peeled. She will also choose to either travel to the UK to experience the London Coffee Festival or to North America for the Specialty Coffee Expo in 2019. Decisions, decisions.

Thanks to everyone who attended, cheered, holla’d and got involved in any way, the atmosphere was electric. Shout out to our friends Cafe Culture for organising the event, the Grounds of Alexandria for hosting and of course to all our rad contestants for taking part. See you next year, yeah?

Think you’ve got what it takes to be crowned the 2019 Breezey Master? Sign up to our newsletter and be the first to know when applications are open.



With less than a month to go, the countdown has officially begun for the highly anticipated grand final of the 2018 Breezey Masters latte art competition.

Now in its third year, this year’s Breezey Masters has seen a host of super talented baristas from all over the world compete in a series of challenges, showcasing their awesome latte art skills.

Using Almond Breeze Barista Blend, Australia’s first almond milk developed in partnership with baristas, for baristas, throughout the last six months competitors have shown us what they’re made of through regional and international heats. They’ve held their nerve to create perfect latte art patterns in a range of designs including hearts, rosettas, crowns and more, with the hope of making it through to the finals and winning the ultimate accolade of being crowned the Breezey Masters champion of 2018. Each cup throughout the competition has been carefully evaluated by our judges based on complexity and clarity for all patterns.

This year’s grand final will be held at The Grounds of Alexandria in Sydney on Tuesday 13th November from 6pm-8pm, where twelve finalists will be competing from an incredible five countries – Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa and the UK. The winner of our successful Latte Art Video Challenge will also be competing.

So what do they win? This year’s Breezey Masters champion will have the choice to fly to London for the London Coffee Festival or to North America for the Specialty Coffee Expo. The winner will also earn a space in Almond Breeze’s Barista Benchmark series that features on the side of the new Almond Breeze Barista Blend packaging.

So clear your diaries, pencil in the date and swing by The Grounds for what’s sure to be a nail-biting final to determine who will be joining the greats in the Breezey Masters hall of fame.

Find full event details here.

Think you’ve got what it takes to take the crown next year? Sign up to our newsletter here and be the first to know when applications open for 2019.



Coffee Science and Education Centre Manager, Adam Carr, from Seven Miles Coffee Roasters, discusses the future and evolution of the role of the barista with the growth of automated technologies in cafés.

‘Automation’ can be a discomforting word. Whenever you hear it mentioned, you’ll likely also hear: ‘redundant’, ‘impersonal’ and ‘crude’. However, after playing with a bunch of new café gadgets that fit the automation genre through our own espresso window, I think three words we’d now associate with these tools are ‘liberating’, ‘personalised’ and ‘refined’. It’s worth unpacking these terms, especially as they relate to the barista and café owner, as they may seem counterintuitive.

Automated technologies in cafés can most certainly be liberating for baristas. One of the first things we noticed when we automated both milk frothing and tamping functions in the Seven Miles café, was just how much hands-free time we had. This hands-free time meant that less time was spent on interacting with the machine, and more time interacting with the customers. It also meant more time was spent on ‘coffee talk’ – discussing origins, flavour profiles and communicating our passion for coffee.

Greater interaction with customers also promotes personalisation of the coffee experience. Baristas will be able to give a recommendation on coffee origin, processing method, or blend type, based on the customer’s taste preferences. As such, we believe that in the near future, baristas will resemble sommeliers. We like to call them ‘coffeliers’. As this transition takes place, we believe that the barista role will become more of a profession than a skill.

We certainly believe the evolution to becoming coffeliers is a natural one. In the last ten years, we’ve seen baristas’ knowledge and craft grow to the point where their appreciation for the many areas of coffee science and anthropology: from roasting chemistry to sustainable coffee sourcing. As a coffee roaster that is passionate about education, we’ve had to constantly evolve our training programs to update our customers and trainees on what new things we’re understanding in sourcing, roasting and understanding about coffee. Combine this knowledge with the tools now available to us to free up time for conversation with customers, and we have great potential for a greater café experience.

But can we trust the tools themselves? It’s been interesting tracking how machines, especially superautomatics (machines designed to produce a latte with the push of a button) have been refined.  Ten years ago, we’d have shared the scepticism of many, even laughing at the idea of placing an automated milk frother in a specialty-level café. But in recent times we’ve seen refinement in the machines to the point where machines can dial themselves in to a recipe, produce perfect milk foam, and combine them without the need for any human intervention. We now use some of these tools in our own café and have seen them implemented in specialty cafes Australia-wide. Reception to their installation has been largely positive.

Indeed, we’ve also witnessed some unforeseen benefits to automating some of the barista functions, especially in the area of sustainability. The best example of this has been in the automation of milk frothing. When we measured milk wastage in typical operation, we found manually dispensing milk in a 100 coffee-per-day cafe can produce 1.8T of milk wastage, or about 920 two litre bottles of milk, per year. We’ve found that automating the process can reduce this by 80%. Aside from the obvious financial savings, the carbon footprint of the café is improved by a whopping 20%. So, automation can save your cafés money and the environment at the same time!

So, if machines are so great, are we going to see the traditional barista disappear in the next 5 years? I think partially. I think we’ll see the transformation of the traditional baristas role change from primarily interacting with machines to interacting with people. Baristas will move from being behind machines to being in front of them. They will be free to discuss their passions with customers and use their understanding and knowledge to customise a coffee that suits the consumer. The machines will do the machine tasks, with minimal wastage and consistent quality. So, we believe the barista will become the coffelier, armed with both gadgets and coffee knowledge to provide the highest quality café experience for whoever walks through the front door!



Therefore is a small, client-focused architecture and interior design studio based in Melbourne, and is responsible for designing and fitting out some of our favourite cafés across Victoria. To find out more about the work they do, we had a chat with the director and founder, Alex Lake.

Founded in 2014, Therefore’s impressive portfolio includes the dreamy Vacation Coffee in Melbourne, which is beautifully finished in a ‘grammable colour palette of washed-out pinks, baby blues and mint greens, as well as the aesthetically pleasing Tall Timber, with its exposed brick walls, mixed wooden features and statement chairs suspended above customers’ heads (yes, really).

According to Alex, cafés are a great space for experimentation within design. And as a company, Therefore are interested in creating original spaces that push the design dialogue forward – and cafés allow them a space to evolve their interests and do just that.

Possibly our favourite of Therefore’s café accomplishments is Vacation Coffee, the contemporary pastel paradise that opened in August 2017 off Melbourne’s busy Flinders Street. At just 70 square metres and housing an artificially lowered ceiling that the previous occupants had put in, Alex and the team had the task of returning the ceiling to its former eight metre height to create a café that utilised its space and let in as much light as possible.

The work on the statement colour of Vacation Coffee was done in collaboration with Melbourne-based branding agency The Company You Keep and the clients, who set the bright colours for the brand. They used the defined set of base colours, but in a washed-out palette which suited an interior application and allowed Therefore to utilise off the shelf architectural products. The final palette is a little otherworldly, which ties in with the concept of escapism given by Vacation; “coffee is an instant vacation”.

Alex feels the most important things to take into consideration when designing the look and feel of a café is to utilise spatial and architectural thinking as opposed to surface treatments or features. And as with anything, there’s always going to be a challenge or two along the way. The most challenging aspect of designing a café is time – everything happens very quickly and the commercial realities of the clients are a huge factor in pushing a design team to work swiftly.

If Alex was to have complete creative freedom on a café, what would he do? He told us: “Probably a design that would hero classic furniture pieces. So many cafés lack quality, original furniture”.

With such a diverse portfolio of cafés across Victoria, we were hoping there would be more popping up soon from Alex and the team. However, there’s no cafés in the pipeline at the moment, but they have got some other exciting projects coming up, including pubs, houses, a nightclub, a winery and a public fabrication workshop, so keep your eyes peeled. And if you’re a local or find yourself in Melbourne any time soon, be sure to pop in and check out Vacation and grab a yourself a brew, you’re in for a visual treat.



WANTED: baristas hell-bent on changing the world of coffee.

Got a spare 10 minutes? Almond Breeze Barista Blend is looking for the leaders, the thinkers, the artisans and crazy-arsed opinion makers to take part in the biggest ever research project into Australia’s buzzing barista and café scene.

Become a part of Australia’s coffee scene history and help us help you by telling us the ins and outs of the tenth fastest-growing job in the country, the barista. We want to know what turns you on about being a barista and what turns you off, so we can help shape the future of the industry.

Plus, as a bonus, tell us your top barista tip at the end of the survey and we’ll pick our two favourite answers to win a cool $1,000 each. So, what are you waiting for? Sit back, grab a coffee and let us know what gets you frothing…

To complete the survey and have your say, click here.



“The nature of coffee here in Australia and our cafe scene is that it’s no longer just a hot beverage in the morning, it has created its own culture and has become our way of life.”

With its signature black and lime green decor that inspired the cafe’s name, Black Lime Cafe is nestled in a quiet corner of Carrera, a leafy suburb in the sunny Gold Coast. Combining both a timeless and contemporary look, the cafe’s owners Michael and Sharon first opened the doors two years ago and have successfully created a warm and homely environment for locals to come and enjoy good hearty meals and fantastic coffee.

Using Silipo Coffee’s platinum blend beans for their full bodied flavour and chocolatey finish, Black Lime Cafe’s coffee guru Richard has an extensive knowledge of roasting and his particular blends, which he has passed down to educate the happy and dedicated staff. Customers always walk away from the cafe feeling satisfied and seeing them return time and time again ensures the team that they only provide the very best.

Lily Mele, assistant manager at Black Lime Cafe, told us that the cafe wanted to create an open and inviting atmosphere. With the floor plan, the owners set out to give it a modern yet relaxed feel, including a sofa for customers to chill out on, plus books and magazines for them to flick through – it’s pure escapism. The coffee machine is also set up so that the baristas can greet each customer and have a friendly chat while making their coffee.

So what makes Lily and the team smile and love what they do each day? The smell of freshly ground coffee first thing in the morning. The golden pour that oozes out the spout and into the cup. The shiny gloss of the milk. The smell of frying bacon and eggs. The aroma of fresh fruit. The satisfying smile of every customer who walks through our doors.

You get all the above and more at Black Lime Cafe. A true hidden gem in the heart of Queensland, be sure to seek it out if ever you’re in the area.



“Australia has got the skills to pay the bills. It’s all about the barista magic!”

Lovingly named after the World War II postal acronym S.W.A.L.K (sealed with a loving kiss) used to seal love letters back in the day, Swalk drew inspiration for its name from its history (before it became a café, Swalk was a post office for around sixty years) and pays homage to the many love letters that would have passed through the walls during this time.

Swalk opened its doors three years ago in Ascot, a beautifully picturesque suburb of Brisbane. With a real family feel, the café’s owner Chloe told us that the best thing about Swalk is the customers – everyone knows each other and there’s an authentic community vibe.

Depending on the mood, you could find yourself listening to anything from Fleetwood Mac to Lynyrd Skynyrd to Tracy Chapman, whilst sipping on one of Swalk’s almond lattes or flat whites and chatting to the fun and friendly staff in the colonial style café that’s very much in keeping with Ascot’s aesthetic. 

With a loyal customer base, the café is always busy and buzzing. The only challenge Chloe faces is the lack of space to fit all the happy customers in. However, with plans in the pipeline to open two more cafés to help spread the Swalk love, there’ll soon be much more space to fill and we’re sure they’ll have no problems doing just that.

Be sure to keep an eye on Swalk’s insta @swalk_ascot for all the latest news and brews from the team.



With ‘barista’ being recognised as the tenth fasted-growing occupation in Australia, there’s no better time than the present to get frothing.

According to the 2016 Census (which captured the occupations of 90 per cent of the workforce), baristas are the tenth fastest-growing occupation in Australia, with a massive 72% increase from the last Census in 2011.

There are currently around 37,000 baristas in Australia – that’s about the same population as the city of Dobbo in New South Wales – and the number is continuing to rise.

Considering ‘barista’ wasn’t even a recognised occupation on the 2001 Census, it just goes to show how quickly and passionately Australia’s love affair with coffee has grown.

And that is why we have created Baristas for Baristas. Our aim is to keep baristas in the loop with all things coffee-related and for like-minded bean buffs to come together on one platform.

From cool coffee related events in your local area and accredited barista training courses to kickstart your career, to sought after barista jobs all over Australia and more, our finger is firmly on the pulse.

So sign up, get involved and become a part of the best barista community in Australia. Plus, make sure you check out our latest Spotify playlists, featuring everything from full of beans bangers to jump around to, rise ‘n’ grind tunes for the early risers and more, we’ve got every mood covered to keep you grooving all day.

Source: ABS Census 2016




We just love where we live and also we wanted to create a coffee scene in Mandurah, which was something that was missing in the town.”

Soph and Leon, the duo behind DPM Café in the beautiful city of Mandurah, Western Australia. Their inspiration was drawn from a mix of Melbourne alleyways and relaxed coastal vibes of WA’s South West region, the Gold Coast and Byron Bay. You can kick back with a coffee and watch dolphins playing in the waterways out the front of the café, so it’s safe to say they’ve nailed the coastal theme!

The DPM team is like a family with just one bloke to 10 women – soon to be two blokes with the arrival of their little boy this year. Soph and Leon told us that if they could open a café anywhere in the world, it would be Mandurah because they love their home and their customers so much. Although, keep your eyes peeled for a hole-in-the-wall style café opening up on the Gold Coast one day.

“We just love where we live and also we wanted to create a coffee scene in Mandurah, which was something that was missing in the town”.



“Coffee is such an important part of Australian culture and we know it’s not just one factor. It takes sourcing the right green bean and experienced roaster before getting into the hands of a great barista.”

Hobba’s head barista, Michael, told us that if they could open a café anywhere in the world, it would be on the moon. Since Hobba’s logo was designed by the acclaimed international artist Miso, featuring a wolf perched on top of a moon with the city skyline as seen from Prahan, that location would be pretty fitting.

Hobba’s current earthly location is in Melbourne’s trendy suburb of Prahan, and the café is inspired by history. The café space was originally a mechanic’s warehouse in the early 1920s and has retained much of its heritage. Bare brick walls, lofty ceilings and polished concrete are the epitome of its comforting warehouse aesthetic and help make Hobba the institution that it is.

Prahan is an eclectic hotspot with lots of vibrant and a strong sense of community – many customers come in for a chat and a perfect cup of coffee made from an exclusive blend of 5 senses coffee beans.

“Coffee is such an important part of Australian culture and we know it’s not just one factor. It takes sourcing the right green bean and experienced roaster before getting into the hands of a great barista – That’s why having such a great relationship with your bean supplier is so essential”

The team at Hobba knew their community would love and embrace the warehouse location like they did. The biggest challenge has been seating the crowds of loyal customers who have travelled from all corners to sample the latest menu, fantastic coffee and bask in the venue’s energetic atmosphere. The team is dedicated to getting you seated as quickly as possible, but if you’re in a hurry – this isn’t the place for you.

So, what does the future hold for Hobba? It’s mostly under wraps, but a little birdy told us that they plan to launch a secret wine bar next door within the next 12 months. Keep an eye out for more on their insta @hobbaprahan.



Fancied comparing your latte art skills to top baristas around the world?

Now is your chance. The Latte Art Video Challenge is giving Australian baristas the opportunity to go head to head with the best in the business from Japan, South Africa and the United Kingdom for the chance to be included into the final of the Breezey Masters, taking place this year in Melbourne.

Baristas must submit their best latte art videos on the Almond Breeze Latte Art Video Challenge website and each week, two video entries from each of the participating territories, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, and South Africa, will be selected. These videos will be pitted against each other vying for votes from their peers and customers to win the weekly cash prize of $500. Votes will be gathered across Instagram, Youtube, Twitter and Facebook. The six baristas who receive the most votes go through to the Finals. Prizes include $1000, $750, $500 for first, second and third-place winners, and the opportunity to compete in the Breezey Masters 2018 final.

To enter head to