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NEWS NOVEMBER

RECYCLE YOUR COFFEE CUPS WITH SIMPLY CUPS

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.

NEWS NOVEMBER

COFFEE WITH ROGUE & RASCAL

“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.

NEWS NOVEMBER

THE 2018 BREEZEY MASTERS FINAL

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.

NEWS OCTOBER

JOIN US: THE BREEZEY MASTERS FINAL

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.

NEWS OCTOBER

AUTOMATION: LIBERATION, PERSONALISATION AND REFINEMENT

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!

NEWS OCTOBER

COFFEE WITH THEREFORE STUDIO

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.

NEWS SEPTEMBER

CALLING ALL BARISTAS: SHARE YOUR OPINIONS TO WIN $1,000

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.

NEWS SEPTEMBER

COFFEE WITH BLACK LIME CAFE

“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.

NEWS SEPTEMBER

COFFEE WITH SWALK

“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.

NEWS SEPTEMBER

JOIN THE CLUB

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

 

NEWS JUNE

COFFEE WITH DRP CAFE

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”.

NEWS JUNE

COFFEE WITH HOBBA

“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.

NEWS JUNE

ALMOND BREEZE LATTE ART

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 latteartvideochallenge.com

 

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