The 2019 Breezey Masters Grand Final, saw finalists from across both Australia and New Zealand battle it out for the title at Speciality Coffee Curators, Marrickville. It was no ordinary Grand Final as we also celebrated the first birthday of BaristasforBaristas.com in what can only be described as the biggest coffee party of the year! Check out all the action from last week’s epic event below.
It was an epic night filled with all things coffee, not to be missed by any coffee lover. To set the scene, think an epic coffee flavoured cake, coffee painting classes with Sydney artist Stephen Evans, balloons and drinks in abundance, and a DJ spinning the decks, all ready to celebrate the biggest latte-art competition in the southern hemisphere (did we mention it was also our first birthday?).
To kick off the day, the eight finalists from Australia and New Zealand met at Specialty Coffee Curators, Marrickville on Tuesday afternoon to take a masterclass from 2018 World Barista Champion Aga Rojewska. As part of her specialist coffee tour of Australia and New Zealand, the barista legend who had flown all the way from Poland, shared her knowledge, expertise and tips and tricks for competing in the competitive and fast growing world of coffee.
When 6 o’clock hit, it was time for the party to start, and the Breezey Masters Final kicked off! Jibbi Little, 2019 Australian Latte Art Champion, Lucky Salvador, 2017 Breezey Masters Grand Breezey Masters and Aga Rojewska, 2018 World Barista Champion, ruled the judging panel as contestants battled through each knock-out round of the latte art smackdown.
As part of the celebrations, popular Bondi artist Stephen Evans hosted coffee painting classes throughout the night, teaching baristas and party-guests how to literally paint their favourite latte art designs on paper using coffee. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that coffee is definitely both an art and a science! Be sure to check out Stephen’s other work here.
As always, the talent of each finalist shone through every round, with some astonishing designs being produced, however there could only be one Grand Breezey Master. As the night progressed Enzen Liu, Head Barista of Cuckoo Callay in Sydney secured his place in the final against Victor Vu of Bicycle Thieves Café in Melbourne. It was no easy competition with both finalists creating some incredible latte-art with Almond Breeze Barista Blend, but an intricate seahorse and poodle design gave Enzen the edge to take the title of 2019 Grand Breezey Master.
Huge thanks to Specialty Coffee Curators and Caleb Holstein for hosting such a fabulous night! We’d also like to thank everyone that came down to celebrate the Breezey Masters Grand Final and our first anniversary of BaristasforBaristas.com with us. We can’t wait to keep providing you with all the caffeine-fuelled goodness for many years to come.
Earlier in the year the BaristasforBaristas.com team attended published author and growth accountant for café and coffee entrepreneurs, Nadi Elias’ talk “Caffeinate your Coffee Business” talk in Melbourne. Nadi is best known for helping coffee and café entrepreneurs boost profit, cash, and business value to not only keep the doors open but open more doors to opportunities. Below, we share Nadi’s ten top points from the talk.
Image credit: Nadi Elias
Thinking of starting a café and want to make sure customers come flooding through the doors and that it’s profitable? Check out the top ten points from Nadi Elias’ “Caffeinate your Coffee Business” talk below:
– Your business revolves around you as the owner. Remember why you are in business. Design your ideal business and work towards making it a reality.
– Focus on going beyond just making good coffee by defining your purpose and promoting ‘why’ you do what you do. Create a culture around this and build a café community.
– Successful café businesses that get the seven steps right (from Count More Beans) make more profit, have more surplus cash flow and yield a higher return to the owners than average cafés in the industry.
– Get clarity over your numbers by forecasting and budgeting. Know the KPIs you need to nail to be financially successful.
– Introduce and sell more premium-quality food to capture more profit margin.
– Build an external team who specialise in your industry and get why you do what you do. Build a high-performing internal team who are efficient, get the job done and strive for success.
– Develop effective and efficient processes and systems to free up your time to work more on the business. Take your accounting system to the cloud with Xero and automate your business with integrated applications to save time and money.
– Price what you sell on the value you’re offering, not what others are charging.
– Position your location and brand based on your target market, purpose, vision and values.
– Always promote your business, your purpose and your vision, not just the food you are selling.
In October 2017, Nadi launched his book Count More Beans: 7 steps to making more profit, having more cash and maximising the value of your cafe. Since launching his book, café owners and coffee professionals from around the world have praised the book’s guidance and approach.
Follow Nadi on Instagram here.
To celebrate BaristasforBaristas.com turning one, we’ve decided to throw Sydney’s biggest World Coffee Day party… and you’re all invited! Read on below for the lowdown.
We’re stoked to announce we’re hosting Sydney’s biggest World Coffee Day party to celebrate the first birthday of BaristasforBaristas.com.
The free-ticketed party, taking place at Specialty Coffee Curators in Marrickville on Tuesday 1st October, will coincide with the crowning of the Almond Breeze 2019 Breezey Masters Champion.
In a global coup, this year’s grand final superstar judges are three of the most well recognised and respected leaders in the international coffee industry who will all be in attendance on the night, including:
• Aga Rojewska, 2018 World Barista Champion
• Jibbi Little, 2019 Australia Latte Art Champion
• Lucky Salvador, 2017 Breezey Masters ‘Grand Breezey Master’
This year, eight talented finalists from across Australia and New Zealand will battle it out for this year’s top prize, with both first and second place-getters then earning a trip to the USA to compete at the New York Coffee Festival in October. For the first time, the ANZ representatives will then go head to head against America’s best baristas in the inaugural Almond Breeze Barista Blend World Series Coffee Smackdown.
Plus in even cooler news, In addition to the two finalists heading to NYC for the ANZ vs USA smackdown, we’re adding another wildcard round for one more talented barista to secure a spot to compete in the US too. So if you fancy yourself as a whiz with the almond milk, we’d love to hear from you and see you there on the night for a chance to be a part of the team of three to head to the US. Simply come down early on the night to sign up and you’ll be entered into our smackdown.
BaristasforBaristas.com 1st Birthday and the Breezey Masters final will start at 6:00pm until 11:00pm. Entertainment will include music from a Sydney-based DJ, coffee painting with Bondi-based artist Stephen Evans and much more, as well as complimentary light snacks and beverages, including special Almond Breeze cocktails on offer.
We can’t wait for you all the join us for what’s set to be a rad night of fun and entertainment. If you want to join us and get your hands on a free ticket, click here.
One thing we’re always asked at BaristasforBaristas.com is how to get a barista job when most barista jobs require prior experience. Below, Lee Safar @leesafar – Founder of MAP IT FORWARD and Elixir Specialty Coffee, and host of The MAP IT FORWARD Podcast shares her top tips for baristas starting out in the game. This blog has been posted with permission from Lee Safar.
Here are 6 tips to help you land the right jobs during your puppy years as a barista, when you don’t have the advantage of experience to help you:
Figure Out WHO You Want To Work For and WHY- How and what you learn in your puppy years as a barista will be formative to how you think about coffee long term. If you learn from the right people, you’ll grow to have a deep appreciation for coffee and the people who produce it, supply it, roast it, brew it and drink it. Spend a good amount of time writing down a list of all the cafes in the area you’re hoping to work in, including the ones you don’t think you’ll want to work for, and understand why you would or wouldn’t work for them. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
What values do they stand for? (This should be on their website and social media. You’ll also get an idea for this when you go into the shops)
What are their buying and selling philosophies? (You can tell by the products and coffees they offer. e.g. if they offer regular soft drinks vs. whether they offer organic artisan ones)
What do their customers and staff say about them (Social media, Yelp, and being in the cafe to watch first hand are great ways to gather this information).
What do you know and like/dislike about their menu and the way they prepare coffee? (Go drink coffee from each of them and observe everything the baristas are doing.)
Please, treat all the cafes on your list equally. Don’t favour your favourite brands or punish the less popular ones. Approach this objectively and you may be surprised by who you end up wanting (and not wanting) to work for. Resist the urge to apply for jobs in cafes just because the brand is “hot right now”. I’ve often been disappointed when I did this.
Once you’ve gone through this process and have your list of ideal future employers, approach them and ask them if they’re looking for an inexperienced coffee professional to join their team. The better cafes will always hire on passion rather than skill and if they have something available wont be turned off by your lack of experience if they’re ready to train someone new.
Become a Customer of the Places You Want to Work- It doesn’t have to be every day, but visiting a favoured potential future employer regularly enough that the barista’s and managers get to know who you are is a great way to have your hat thrown in the ring when a portion becomes available. I’ve definitely offered puppy barista’s who were customers the opportunity to trial for a position when it became available if I thought they were going to be a good fit, before advertising, because I always hire on passion and enthusiasm rather than skill for baristas.
Start as a Cafe Allrounder- This is a term popularly used in the Australian coffee industry for a cafe employee that will work on the register, do customer service, clean tables, top up pastries etc. This is usually the starting position in a cafe and it’s implied that this position has room to progress to training on coffee. It’s sort of like a “bus-er” here in The States. The reason we start people in this position is usually because we’re trying to get them used to flow of the cafe and familiar with products, customers, systems, language and values in the workplace while also giving customers the opportunity to become accustomed to them. (N.B. In Australia, things are a little different to the way they’re done in the USA simply because of volume. When someone is on bar, they’re not dealing with cash or taking customer orders during the rush times. Barista and register are two different jobs in Australian cafes.)
Start at Starbucks or McCafe – You read that right. Yes, Starbucks and McCafe. This was something I always favoured when looking through resumes submitted by applicants. I still do. Why? Because people who have worked for Starbucks and McCafe understand systems and when you’re doing 12kgs (approx. 24lbs) a day through espresso, it’s going to be a lot more fun when everyone is on the same page regarding the importance of systems in high volume environments. I promise you, this kind of experience will be appreciated by any employer worth working for in the long term. Contrary to what you might think, this will not hurt your future employment prospects, provided you’re open to being taught new coffee brewing skills with every shop you work at.
Be passionate, Open-minded AND humble- I can’t tell you the number of over excited puppy baristas (of all age groups) that are clearly very passionate about brewing and/or roasting coffee, and want to show you everything they know by telling you why what you’re doing wrong based on something they’ve watched or read about on the internet. REAL LIFE CAFE WORK FLOW IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE V60 YOU BREW AT HOME OR FOR YOUR FRIENDS. Your focus as a puppy barista is to keep learning. If you’ve been to any of the MAP IT FORWARD Barista Workshops where we’ve gone through the very detailed Barista Map that we’ve created, you’ll know that the Puppy Years are for learning the fundamentals and the Mid-Career Years are for skill development and challenging the status quo. Passion is a beautiful thing, especially when it’s balanced with open-mindedness and humility.
Network Your Way into Work- Start by joining social media groups to find out where different public cuppings and industry events are happening and attend them or volunteer for them. This is a great way to meet people already in the industry and get a feel for who you gravitate towards and who you don’t want to be around. You’ll learn a lot just from observing. If you’re attending Coffeefest in LA or PNW (#notanad) this year, you’ll get a great opportunity to network with people in the industry. Remember, being star struck in these environments is not going to help you be objective when making important choices about your career so resist the urge to fan boy/girl (and whatever the non-binary version of that is) over anyone, and be professional.
This article was written by Lee Safar @leesafar – Founder of MAP IT FORWARD and Elixir Specialty Coffee, and host of The MAP IT FORWARD Podcast. If you’re considering becoming a barista, checkout the webinar “Barista & Beyond – Mapping a Successful 10 Year Career in the Coffee Industry”. Lee will be hosting a hospitality industry focused assertiveness training in Sydney on Saturday September 21st. For more information click here.
The wait is over. Read on to see how you can get your hands on limited tickets for 2018 World Barista Champion Aga Rojewska’s AUS/NZ tour in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland.
As we mentioned before, we’re buzzing to be supporting World Barista Champion 2018 Aga Rojewska on a specialist coffee tour of Australia and New Zealand.
Aga will be heading to Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland to share her knowledge and expertise. She will be providing tips on what it takes to compete on the global stage in the highly competitive and growing coffee industry. Quite simply, this is a money can’t buy experience for Aussie and Kiwi baristas.
Limited FREE tickets for the special events are NOW available by clicking the following links:
Sydney 1st October 2019. Click here.
Melbourne 2nd October 2019. Click here.
Auckland 4th October 2019. Click here.
Please note tickets are limited to one per order. Good luck and we look forward to seeing you on the road for what’s set to be the dopest tour of 2019.
We’re super excited to announce Almond Breeze Barista Blend, the low sugar food service almond milk designed specifically by baristas for baristas, is proud to be supporting World Barista Champion 2018 Aga Rojewska on a specialist coffee tour of Australia and New Zealand.
We’re stoked to be bringing legendary barista champ Aga Rojewska on tour this October and we want YOU to join us.
The visit will see Polish national and rockstar barista Aga host coffee masterclasses at venues in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland where she will share her knowledge and expertise, and provide tips on what it takes to compete on the global stage in the highly competitive and growing coffee industry. Quite simply, this is a money can’t buy experience.
Last year, Aga Rojewska was the first female barista to win the World Barista Championships since the event’s inception in 2000.
Aga will also form part of the judging team at Almond Breeze Barista Blend’s Breezey Masters latte art competition finals at Specialty Coffee Curators in Sydney on World Coffee Day, 1st October 2019, with more guest judges to be announced soon (so keep your eyes peeled).
The Aga Rojewska tour dates are as follows:
Sydney 1st October 2019
Melbourne 2nd October 2019
Auckland 4th October 2019
Limited release tickets will be available FREE on BaristasforBaristas.com at 10:00am AEST on Tuesday September 3, 2019. So make sure you put the date in your diary and pop back then as you will not want to miss out on this.
Anyone who has started their own café knows the hard work and dedication that goes into making it successful. To get an insight into the experience, we caught up with Chris Bradtke, who has been in the hospitality industry for over a decade and specialty coffee industry for six years. With his best friend, Chris opened and ran Port Macquarie café Social Grounds for four years, up until mid-2018. Read about Chris’ experience below.
How did you journey to owning your own café start?
My journey was brief and somewhat out of the blue. I always loved the idea of owning my own business, but it wasn’t until my best friend Andrew Bourke approached me with the idea of opening a café in our hometown of Port Macquarie, that I started taking it seriously.
The timing couldn’t have been better. At the time I was still living and working in Sydney, I was recently out of long-term relationship and was so excited at the idea of getting out of the city and throwing myself into a project like this.
It was literally only a couple of weeks after that initial conversation that we had found a location and signed a lease. Receiving the keys to our venue was so surreal, and an intense two week fit out of our new space went by in a blur.
We had vey limited capital, so we saved every penny by doing virtually all the renovations ourselves, instead spending all our money on the latest and greatest coffee equipment. Initially the hours were massive, but it felt different. It was so rewarding seeing results at the end of each day and watching the café take shape; it rarely felt like work.
Being only 26, I was probably in well over my head, but with some luck, help from amazing friends and a lot of hard work, we were able to pull it all together and create a space we were truly proud of.
How did you decide on the overall look and feel of the café?
Andrew and I had both worked in some amazing hospitality venues around the country. Cherry picking ideas from many of them, we had a pretty similar idea of what look and feel we were after.
At the time, Port Macquarie had very little in the way of specialty coffee and nothing resembling those intimate inner city cafés we loved. Going for dark walls, soft and warm lighting and as much timber as possible, we hoped to create a space where people felt relaxed and welcome.
What are your tips for finding the right team to work with?
Hire those who are passionate, positive and have great energy. Because you’ll be spending a significant portion of your life with these people, having employees who are happy and energetic whilst working is not only great for business, it’ll make you enjoy coming into work.
Don’t be afraid to employ friends or family, they will have a loyalty to you and your business that a stranger may not have.
What was the most rewarding part of the experience?
The personal growth and confidence I gained from owning my own business was incredibly rewarding, but my favourite part was building something from scratch with a best friend and having the opportunity to share it with our local community, who were always so supportive.
What surprised you the most about running your own café?
How quickly you’ll need to learn to adapt. There is always a curveball waiting around the corner, just when you think things couldn’t be better something will change out of nowhere. Early on this was daunting, but over time you start to get more comfortable with it and change often turns out to be quite beneficial.
What was the most challenging part of it?
The emotional toll outside of work. Unfortunately at times it can be quite hard to switch off and more often then not there is always something on your mind. Whether it be financial (revenue, wages, bills, taxes etc.) or operational (staff, products, stock etc.), they all require a lot of attention. Being about to split these responsibilities with a business partner was a huge help.
What would be your biggest piece of advice for anyone looking to give it a go?
Get ready to work, especially in that first year.
Andrew and I opened our café on July 14th of 2014. Later that year we had our first day off, December 25th, Christmas Day. Doing 164 days straight seems crazy to think about now, but at the time we loved every minute of it.
I’m not suggesting you need to do anything like that, but it’ll certainly increase your chances of success. On the other hand, be mindful of burnout. It is very real and if you feel like you need a little time away from the business, give yourself that option.
Would you do it all agin?!
Absolutely. I’m definitely in no rush to jump straight back into another one (it’s been quite nice having someone else pay my wage!), but I’d be more than open to it in the future if an exciting opportunity arose.
Chris now works for Café Culture International, running barista events all around Australia and New Zealand. Keep up to date with Chris and the crew over on Café Culture’s Instagram here.
We recently caught up with Caleb Holstein, founder of community coffee hub Specialty Coffee Curators in Marrickville. Caleb is passionate about the coffee industry and loves to see people given the opportunity to learn, create and grow their own skills. Having travelled and worked all around the world, he realised that nine tenths of the challenge is for people to have access the right education, equipment and support networks to create successful and sustainable businesses and careers in the coffee industry, which is where Specialty Coffee Curators comes in.
Specialty Coffee Curators is a community coffee hub. What sparked the idea to create this?
I grew up working in my mum’s café learning from an early age the hard work and dedication that goes into being a hospitality professional and café owner. Having this unique opportunity of getting to see my family work tirelessly in our café, I was exposed to the reality of the coffee industry from the café owner’s perspective and as we grew and began to request more and more information from our coffee suppliers, I started down the journey of becoming a coffee roaster. Unlike other professions in hospitality, our industry is not structured with a clear and well-trodden path to gain higher learning and skills, be it as a roaster or barista.
I worked my way into the industry through sweeping floors and overachieving at the menial jobs to allow myself the opportunity to get time on a roaster. It was not an easy process, or one that is replicable for everyone. After reflecting on this process, I realised that I could create a facility and space that lowers these barriers and can allow our industry to have a more diverse representation of people roasting and serving coffee.
You’re passionate about coffee and art. How do these align and how are you bringing them together through Curators?
For me personally, I have always admired creative people such as musicians and artists. The first way I ever felt like I could create my closest imitation of art was when I learnt to do latte art. It may sound silly to some, but for me it was a moment that showed me that I could be creative in the coffee industry.
I am lucky to be able to work with a range of awesome Sydney artists at Curators. The one who started me off in this community and who I am now lucky to call a friend is the legend, Australian street artist Reuben Boughtwood (@Reubszz). We are lucky to have been able to host a few exhibitions for Reuben and have some exciting plans for more art on our Victoria road facing wall, which is currently showcasing a piece by Reuben of the great Mac Miller.
Art is a powerful medium to communicate and express and I believe coffee can be the same for some people, so it just made sense to make art a part of what Curators is.
You work with a lot of charities benefiting the community. Can you tell us a bit more about this? Why is this important to you?
We are only a young business and facility, but we are striving to enact change in our communities through positive actions. We have had the opportunity to host a few fundraisers for causes with people we are proud to be able to support, such as Thirsty Cow, a charity built to support the drought stricken farmers. We are lucky to have the amazing “Bread & Butter Project”, a program built to train refugees to become bakers We also hosted Reuben Boughtwood’s art exhibition, “A Sabu Story”, with all proceeds raised going towards hiring two teachers on a remote island in Indonesia. We cannot wait for our next opportunity to partner with a great cause.
With a spotlight on sustainability across all industries, what do you think the coffee industry could be doing more/less of?
I think when you look at the sustainability of current process and products in the coffee industry, you can begin to look at some big intimidating parts of our industry that seem too big to change, but I encourage people to begin to think locally about how we can work to lower our footprint and create change. For example, with reusable packaging, some companies have been using tins for some time now, along with new biodegradable packing options that are entering the market now. There’s also reusable cups and alternative uses for coffee waste, like gardening or composting. We just need to be making more conscious decisions as consumers and as business owners.
What can we expect from Curators over the next year?
We have just had our 1st birthday for our communal training facility, which has been really exciting in the first 12 months as we have been able to facilitate the training and upskilling of over 2,000 people through our space.
We have also launched our communal coffee roastery in the past few months and are working tirelessly to show the wider community just how accessible coffee roasting can be by allowing access to a space where they can take control of their coffee.
We are constantly running events and announcing new and exciting projects, so keep an eye on our social channels for the latest updates.
What’s left to accomplish?
Our ultimate goal is to create a space and community for people to come and learn and grow their coffee skills and products. Coffee is part and parcel of the Australian culture and we want to provide a welcoming and supportive community for people to feel comfortable to ask questions and learn more about this amazing product and industry.
Keep up to date with Caleb and the crew over on the Specialty Coffee Curators Instagram here.
In the final leg of what has been an awesome 2019 Breezey Masters, which has showcased just some of the incredibly talented baristas from all across Australia and New Zealand, the Barista Blend team headed across the ditch to visit our friends in Auckland to find out who will be joining the seven other finalists in the grand final in Sydney on World Coffee Day. See what went down below.
The Almond Breeze Barista Blend team were stoked to be heading back to Auckland to see who would be the final barista representing New Zealand on the 1st October at the finals at Specialty Coffee Curators. Hosted by Stephanie and her crew at Karajoz Coffee Company in Eden Terrace, the night did not disappoint.
The Karajoz team have been in the café business in 1982 and roasting coffee since 1997 and are now one of the biggest privately owned roasters in New Zealand. They are experts in their field and were the perfect venue to play host for the New Zealand heat of the competition.
Twenty competitors came down to take part on the night, showcasing their finest latte art using Almond Breeze Barista Blend, with the hope of impressing our industry judges, Karajoz’s very own Stephanie and Taylor, as well as ex-Auckland barista Olivia.
Pouring their finest hearts, swans, rosettas and tulips, the talented baristas were then just whittled down to four finalists; Leo Li from Newbie Cafe, Robert Kim from Hello Friends and Allies, Shogo Shimoji of Café 88 and Isaac Yu from 21 Grams.
After an intense final round with all of the baristas producing their finest free pours, Hello Friends and Allies’ Robert Kim came out on top, closely followed by Shogo, Leo and Isaac. Robert took home $1,000 and will be flown out to Sydney to join the rest of the regional winners in what’s going to be an intense grand final.
Thanks to Stephanie for not only hosting the evening, but also judging the competition along side the other two other awesome industry judges, plus Cafe Culture for all their help with organising a successful run of regional heats. We can’t wait to see all our baristas come back and do it all again on World Coffee Day. More info to follow very soon, including the announcement of our three superstar judges. For now, pencil 1st October in your diaries and keep your eyes peeled on our Instagram.
As you know, Almond Breeze Barista Blend is the low sugar choice when it comes to café almond milks and makes a perfect addition to coffee. However, what you may not know is Barista Blend also works great in other recipes including smoothies and hot chocolates. Read on to check out vegan foodie Kitch Catterall’s (aka @soybabie_) divinely creamy hot choc recipe below.
Kitch Catterall’s creamy hot choc recipe
This recipe is creamy, delicious and decadent, but also refined sugar and dairy-free.
Using Almond Breeze Barista Blend, the texture of the hot chocolate is amazingly creamy and froths up perfectly to create a café style hot chocolate that’s perfect for dunking cookies into.
-2 tsp good quality cacao powder
-1 tsp coconut sugar (or to taste if you like it sweeter)
-1/4 tsp good quality vanilla bean paste
-1/4 tsp maca powder
Stir the powders together with a dash of water to create a paste.
Heat the almond milk with whatever means you have, either over a stove or using a frother.
Combine half the warm almond milk with the powder mixture and stir together until completely incorporated.
Have a delicious Barista Blend recipe to share with us? Hit us up here to be featured on the blog.
In the final Australian heat of the 2019 Breezey Masters before heading across the ditch to New Zealand, the Almond Breeze Barista Blend team headed west to Perth for the WA leg of the competition. Hosted by our good friends at The Northbridge Coffee Roasters, check our highlight of the evening’s events below.
The Almond Breeze Barista Blend team were excited to be back in Perth for the last stop in Australia of the 2019 Breezey Masters. The Faculty by The Northbridge Coffee Roasters, located on Aberdeen St, played host for the competition. Sitting above European Foods, a long term distributor of Almond Breeze Barista Blend, the venue is the largest barista training centre in WA and provides nationally accredited courses.
Our three judges tasked with the tough job of scoring the talented baristas for the evening were John Ferrari and Andrew Marr from The Faculty as well as Adam from Fiori Coffee. Rie Moustakas, who has been heavily involved in the Perth and Australian coffee scene for many years having competed and judged in competitions with many of the competitors, was the evening’s MC. The Faculty’s very own Amanda had the job of pulling perfectly consistent shots for the competitors.
The night got off to a flying start with a packed out room of both competitors and spectators creating a real buzz. With a high level of talented baristas, including last year’s national winner, Mary Street Bakery‘s Vicky Chuaybamrung, we knew there was going to be a impressive pours from everyone involved.
In the closest competition to date, our top four competitors of the night were Ethan Son, Andy Tseng, Russelle Tolentino and Vicky Chuaybamrung, who all edged their way into the final, only narrowly separating themselves from one another.
After the final free pour round, Vicky defended her Breezey Masters title by the slightest of margins, narrowly beating Ethan, Andy and Russelle by just a couple of points.
Congratulations Vicky, taking home the $1000 prize money and joining us in the finals, we are stoked to be having you back once again to join us in Sydney on World Coffee Day on October 1st to compete in the grand finals.
Next up, the team head over to Auckland for the final regional heat in New Zealand. To join us, please fill in the application form here.
We caught up with Emily Coumbis from Aremde to discuss Aremde’s industry-leading machine the Nexus One. Emily has been in the coffee industry for almost 10 years, starting out as a dishy before working her way up to being a café manager and building her online profile with her colourful latte art. A back problem forced her to change career direction and now Emily works full time for the Aremde crew in their Brisbane headquarters. Emily has been working for them since the launch of their award-winning Nexus One machine in September last year.
Can you give us a brief history of Aremde…
Aremde has a great story of collaboration behind it and how the founders came together to start the company. In the beginning, our business director Muthana Raqtan had an idea for a new concept of coffee machine. At the time he was designing his new headquarters for his company with Dutch architect Rempt van der Donk and asked him if he would like to design a coffee machine. Having no experience in the coffee industry, Rempt created a design that was inspired by looking through his car window. Once the design was in place, Geoff Michelmore from Brisbane was commissioned to engineer the working parts of the machine that made it both functional and technologically solid. From there, Walter Amerika from the Netherlands came on board to market the brand, and Aremde with its four founding directors was created. While the company is very much global, our manufacturing and headquarters are all based in Brisbane and we are very proud to be Australian made.
The Nexus One was built on the principle “less machine, more experience”, can you tell us more about this?
The Nexus One was created with the customer in mind. Rempt wanted the theatre of coffee making to be on display to enhance the customer experience and encourage interaction between the barista and consumer. The bulk of the machine sits under the counter (boilers and electronics) so bench space occupied by the machine is minimal, making it more open for interaction. Along with designing a new age machine, it also had to be technologically advanced and easy for baristas to use, so it was decided to make the working parts as minimal as possible to allow for ease of use in high volume environments. Buttons are single push on push off buttons for steam and hot water, with group heads also having multi-function buttons programmed with two individual doses and a free pour mode per group. There’s no paddles or dials on the machine to minimise confusion and allow for steam to be stopped instantly once optimal temperature is reached. The three group Nexus One also contains seven boilers and temperature is consistent to 0.2 of a degree and steam is engaged with new thermal cycle technology so it is always ready to perform consistently.
You won the “Best New Product” award at the World of Coffee 2019 in Berlin. How was this experience for you?
When it was announced that we were the winners of the Best New Product at World of Coffee there was definitely some happy tears amongst the team! Before it was released to the world, the Nexus was two years in the making. There were prototypes, testing, research and development and then more tweaking. There has been a lot of love put into this machine to get it to a high standard where it could compete with other machines on the commercial market. To have now won three awards in product design and engineering is a huge confirmation that all the persistence to perfect this product has paid off. We are now leading design innovation in the commercial coffee machine industry, which traditionally has not seen many dramatic changes until now.
What makes Aremde’s products unique to everything else on the market?
Aremde’s Nexus One is unique in many ways. In cafés that already showcase the Nexus, the owners have noticed that customers are looking at their phones less and are interacting with the barista more. It uses a new technology with a thermal cycle system that rotates steam around the machine constantly, so it is always engaged and ready to perform at optimal temperature to heat milk consistently. It also uses medical grade materials to keep power consumption down through use of efficient heating insulation inside the machine. And finally, my favourite part that makes the Nexus One unique is that the machine can be customised. You have a choice of 32 standard colours, or if you would like the machine to match the interior design of your business then we can also customise to match that too! So far I’ve seen honeycomb patterns, weathered patina copper and silhouettes of city skylines to name a few.
What machine trends do you predict over the next year?
From what I’ve seen, my prediction is that there’ll be a heavy emphasis on automation. The technology in automation is getting increasingly better, where machines are now designed to mimic the barista’s touch, not necessarily to replace the job of the barista, but to free up their hands so that they can provide better customer service without also needing to concentrate on shots, milk and serving all at once.
What can we expect from Aremde next?
Aremde’s vision is to improve the working hospitality space by offering new innovation and minimalist design to improve flow, functionality and work efficiencies. For example, our newest product, the Modus One, is a cup warmer that utilises standard dishwasher racks. Simply, the dirty cups are loaded onto the racks, put in the dishwasher and from there they can go straight into the cup warmer. The need for the dishy to stack cups back on top of the machine is eliminated, freeing up time in back of house to give better service. Aremde is making us rethink our flow in back of house spaces and how we can better use our time to add value to the customer. So stay tuned, we have some exciting new things coming up in development!
“We put hospitality back into hospitality. We truly care about the customer experience. We value the local community and all that they bring to Extraction. We keep it real. If someone asks for help we give it and if we need help, we ask for it.”
After 30 years as a steel fabricator running the family business, Alex Milosevic, owner and roaster at Extraction Artisan Coffee in Slacks Creek, located just outside of Brisbane, decided to have a career change. In 2014 he started learning to roast coffee, which in turn sparked his and his partner Heather’s love affair with the coffee industry, and the pair have never looked back.
Alex and Heather had both lived in Logan City for 20 years and had come to realise that the Logan community was crying out for speciality coffee. Their two combined skill sets seemed to be a good fit (Heather’s background was in graphic design/marketing and for many years she wrote a food blog ‘For the Love of Food’), so after unsuccessfully applying for several business loans with banks and getting knocked back each time, they decided to sell their home, investment property and sports car, and throw everything they had at their new business.
Little did they know that the local community, and in fact the whole of the Queensland coffee community, would support them on their endeavour the way that they did at the beginning and continue to do so now. So many people have helped and encouraged them along the way and both Alex and Heather have found it incredibly humbling. So much so that before they opened, they ran out of money, so successfully launched a crowdfunding campaign to purchase their first lot of green beans and a coffee machine. The support was overwhelming, hence Extraction called their first house blend ‘Gratitude’.
Now with a loyal and returning customer-base in the tight-knit Brisbane coffee community, Alex and Heather are proud to offer their customers beans sourced from all over the world. Although traceability and sustainability are important to them, they also place great importance on building relationships with importers who share the same values of integrity, respect and fairness for all.
The Extraction team is also very proud of their association with AREMDE and the innovative NEXUS One coffee machine. They were the first café in the world to install this machine and it’s a beautiful piece of equipment and has really changed the way their customers interact with their baristas. They believe AREMDE is leading the way in terms of innovation between customer and coffee professional with some very exciting products in development.
Extraction Artisan not only love and produce great coffee, served by a barista team headed up by previous Queensland Breezey Masters champ Sarah Jin, they also love food. So just like pursuing exceptional coffee flavour, they also pursue flavour on the plate using local produce when possible. Logan City has some exceptional local producers who they love supporting, including Beenleigh Butchery (for what they claim to be the best bacon ever!) and Scenic Rim Dairy who produce 4Real Milk (pasteurised only).
It’s the team that really make the experience at Extraction Artisan Coffee. In Heather’s own words, “Our team are truly amazing humans. They represent our brand with great spirit and respect, sharing their talent and passion with not only us, but also our customers. Customers regularly make comment to us about how genuinely friendly our team is”. This is a testament to the leadership of both Alex and Heather.
So, what can we expect from the Extraction Artisan crew over the next year? They’re hoping a deck at the back of the building overlooking beautiful green space will finally become a reality. This has been a dream of Alex and Heather’s since the beginning and they hope to achieve it over the next year. Several of their baristas are also entering the ASCA regionals this year so they look forward to supporting and coaching them on their journey.
They’ll also continue to blast out the café’s trademark 70s, 80s, retro funk music, which generally means that either Alex or Heather are in the house. If you are in the area, make sure you pop in for a coffee and a bite to eat, plus a chat with the hardworking, dynamic duo.
Having not been to Darwin as part of the Breezey Masters city heats for the last few years, the Almond Breeze Barista Blend team were stoked to be returning to see what the NT talent had to offer. Hosted by former NT Breezey Masters champ Jules Mouldy and her team at the awesome Kopi Stop, catch all the excitement from the night below.
We were buzzing to be back in sunny Darwin for the fifth regional event of the 2019 Breezey Masters. Situated in the heart of Darwin, Kopi Stop were our fantastic hosts for the evening. Headed up for former NT Breezey Masters champ Jules and her husband, the contemporary monochrome café serves some of the best coffee in Darwin using St Ali beans, plus simple, yet delicious food.
There was a real electric atmosphere from the offset with just shy of 20 competitors all ready to battle it out with the hopes of being crowned the Northern Territory champ. The talented competitors included some of Kopi Stop’s very own superstar baristas, as well as baristas from Cafe Central, Soul Origin, Saltwater Darwin, Laneway Specialty Coffee and more.
After seriously impressing our judges throughout the first rounds on the evening, the final five came down to Laneway Specialty Coffee’s Tricia Wong, Cafe Central’s Nelson Lin, Nikki Chen, Kit Han Tsang from Kopi Stop and Soul Origin’s Louis Vo, who all had to pour their finest free pours in the last round and be scored out of a possible 20 marks from each of our three judges.
After an eventful evening and some awesome free pours from the final five, Cafe Central’s Nelson Lin took home this year’s NT crown having come out on top in all three rounds in the competition. Nelson will be joining the four other regional finalists in September in Sydney for the grand finals at Specialty Coffee Curators.
Following the event, we received some troubling feedback and it looks like there was a breakdown in processes between our external events organisers and the scoring team, which essentially means that some of the scores were unfortunately cocked up.
The team here at Barista Blend investigated this in detail with those involved and as we take this kind of thing, and our coffee heroes, very seriously, we decided that it’s only fair to run the comp again and give ya’ll another crack to join our standout, superstar champ Nelson in the final.
So Darwin will now have two reps from NT in the grand final in Sydney in September. We’re in the process of locking down the new date and will update you shortly with all the info. Our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience caused and we hope this goes some way to making it up to you legends.
Next up, we’ll be heading to The Faculty at Northbridge Coffee Roasters on the 16th July to see what WA has to offer.
The Almond Breeze Barista Blend team headed down south to chilly Adelaide to see what the talented baristas had to offer with the South Australia heat of the Breezey Masters, hosted by Fred and his team at the awesome Kinetto Coffee in the CBD. Find out what went down below.
The Breezey Masters returned to Adelaide for an exciting heat of the 2019 competition, hosted by our friends, Frank and the team at Kinetto Coffee, located in the heart of the CBD and just a short walk from Victoria Square and Adelaide’s Central Market.
The evening saw a full house of 24 competitors battle it out at the packed out venue with the hope of securing a spot at the grand finals in Sydney in September. The talented baristas taking part on the night included last year’s SA champ Alex Whigham along with several of his colleagues from the The Front Page Cafe, as well as baristas from Veneziano, My Kingdom for a Horse, Coffee Amigo, Muffin Break and more.
Special mention must also be made to India Wilkes who travelled with support from her work fam and some of her friends all the way from The Rogue and Rascal in Port Lincoln. India was awarded a travel voucher to attend as part of our ‘Breezey travel’ voucher program.
The baristas all put on an impressive display for our industry judges for the evening, making their job particularly tough. After smashing through the first rounds, the final four came down to Georgina Lumb from Veneziano, Corner Store Cafe‘s Tang Yi, Natalie Scaife from Grinders and Patio Coffee Roasters‘ Felix Chapman-Petrone.
Overall, the competition was tight, but Felix just pipped Natalie to the post, coming out on top and taking home the $1,000. Felix will join the other heat winners in the national finals in September.
Thanks so much to Fred and the team for being such welcoming and accommodating hosts. Next stop on the national tour is Perth, which will be held at The Faculty at North Bridge Coffee Roasters Tuesday 16th July.
This month we spoke to Josh Jackson (known to everyone as Pace – a Dawson’s Creek reference for the 80s kids) from Locale Espresso. As well as managing the operations and sales, Josh is part of the coffee development team at Locale with invaluable expertise and guidance from Ben Toovey (2018 Australian Roasting Champ, 4th place; 2018 World Coffee Roasting Champs) and Pat Connolly (2nd place; 2019 Australian Roasting Champs). Together, Locale cover everything from green bean sourcing, roasting and overseeing the QA process.
For those that don’t know, can you tell us about Locale?
Locale started out as a small side project a few years back, while working for a big international roaster. We noticed the huge demand for a locally roasted product amongst our customer base and Locale was originally created to meet that demand. The name is a nod to our Melbourne-Italian coffee roots, with an added ‘locally roasted’ twist.
A few years back, Locale became a stand-alone brand in its own right, driven by a handful of coffee passionate team members (myself included) with the goal of taking the company to the next level in the specialty scene. We’ve since joined the Genovese Coffee family and with their knowledge and guidance we’ve been able to take it even further. We’re pretty proud of how far we’ve come, now supplying coffee to around 100 cafes across Australia.
Sustainability is central to what you do. Can you tell us more about this?
It’s a really important issue for us. We take our commitment to the environment and future generations of coffee drinkers seriously and most decisions we make circle back to this ethos. Our aim is to partner with like-minded people around the globe who share our focus for quality, sustainability and social responsibility to ensure we leave the industry (and the earth) in a better position than we found it. We reduce our environmental impact wherever we can and we’re constantly on the lookout for ways to improve in this area.
We’re a Carbon Neutral Business: We offset every one of our emissions by purchasing carbon credits from renewable energy programs around the world. Each one of our products is 100% carbon neutral. The carbon offset program covers everything from the transport of our coffee to our café partners around the country, as well as staff travel, electricity, you name it! Our webstore orders are also delivered via Sendle, Australia’s first 100% carbon neutral delivery service and certified B Corporation.
Investing in Sustainable Farming: We strongly believe in paying producers a premium price for quality coffees and investing back into their communities and businesses. We build long-term relationships with the farmers we source from and trade direct wherever we can.
Limiting our Single-Use products: We’ve recently converted 100% of our takeaway cup/lid range across to a recyclable alternative, endorsed by Planet Ark, to reduce the waste our industry contributes. Working with companies like Shred-X here in Aus, Detpak closed their own loop and we’ve strongly encouraged our customers to participate in the end-to-end program. It guarantees all correctly disposed RecycleMe™ cups and lids collected will be recycled, with the paper reclaimed from the cups being recycled into other paper products up to seven times, making the most of this precious resource and saving trees in the process. As a minimum, the RecycleMe™ cups are made from 51% less plastic than most disposable cups. We’re working hard on a similar solution for our coffee bag packaging which we hope to release in the near future.
How do you see the coffee industry changing or evolving over the next few years?
With the demand for coffee growing exponentially, the accountability of both businesses and consumers will become an even stronger focus. As a business, it should be about more than just the bottom line. The social and environmental impact a company has, whether positive or negative, should be more important to the consumer. As roasters, we need to make sure this information is readily available so people can make an informed choice and support those doing the right thing for our planet.
It’s also important to help educate the consumer on the value of quality, commodity coffee vs specialty coffee, as not all coffee is created equally. If specialty coffee is not properly differentiated from a good quality commodity coffee, it will become less attractive to farmers who will seek alternatives which could drive coffee prices well above where they should be now. As an industry, we should be placing a much higher value on quality.
What can we expect from Locale over the next year?
We’re looking deeper into every facet of our business to see where we can further minimise our environmental impact and become more sustainable. We’ll share these updates on our website as we roll them out. We’re also celebrating 5 years in 2020 so expect some big changes from us from a brand perspective. Watch this space!
Anything else you’d like to add?
In our industry, we are lucky enough to be touching millions of people’s lives every day and with that we have an opportunity to create positive change for millions of people. Don’t disregard the small things, every little bit counts.
Do you live outside the big smoke and wanna showcase your skills at the Breezey Masters? Find out how you can apply for a ‘Breezey travel’ voucher to help get you there.
We are now halfway through our Breezey Masters regional heats (can you believe it?) and what a start we’ve had. Queensland champion Maiko Morimoto of Extraction Artisan Coffee, New South Wales winner Enzen Liu of Cuckoo Callay and Victoria’s Victor Vu of Cocobei Docklands will all be heading to Sydney in September to compete in the 2019 finals.
As you are aware, Almond Breeze and BaristasforBaristas.com are dedicated to bringing as much of the industry together, so we have decided to help out after being contacted by a rockstar barista from a small town who wanted to compete, but was having to travel a long way. This then sparked an idea and so the ‘Breezey travel’ vouchers were born.
To ensure we are continuing to push the industry forward in Australia and New Zealand and make sure we are championing talented baristas from all corners of the country in both big and small cafés, we are pleased to announce that we are offering ‘Breezey travel’ vouchers to help enable those in regional areas to travel to compete in your state. Although we can’t help out with travel to the heats that have already taken place this year (sorry, folks!), we want to help those of you in SA, NT, WA and NZ and continue to shine a light on talent from all across Australia and New Zealand.
Baristas can apply for a ‘Breezey travel’ voucher for either the Adelaide, Darwin, Perth or Auckland heats of the competition, with limited available. To apply, please contact us here and tell us a bit about yourself, why you want the travel voucher (sell it to us!) and how much your travel will cost. Each entry will be reviewed on a case by case basis and we will contact you directly to let you know if you’ve been chosen as a lucky recipient. It’s that simple.
In the latest of the Breezey Masters heats, the Almond Breeze Barista Blend team headed down to Melbourne to check out the barista talent in Victoria, with a fun-packed evening hosted by our friends at Locale Espresso in Abbotsford. Get the full lowdown below.
Melbourne showed us why they’re killing it in the coffee scene with the latest heat of our Breezey Masters latte art competition. Fifteen competitors from across the state battled it out to impress the judges at host venue for the evening, Locale Espresso in Abbotsford.
Locale, who are doing their bit for the local scene with their commitment to bringing quality coffee and people together, were fantastic hosts for the evening’s events, with the team’s Victoria manager Julijan Markovic providing the shots for the evening, as well as the national sales manager Josh Jackson helping out on the judging squad.
With the talent coming in thick and fast throughout the first rounds, only a couple of points separated the top few competitors. After an impressive final free pour by the four finalists, Victor Vu from Cocobei Docklands managed to beat competition from Jodie Chan of Baba Sus who placed second, Kien Leoo of Cocobei who came in third, and Junnie Huang of Chicken or the Egg.
Victor Vu took home the $1000 in prize money and will join us at the grand final, which will be held in Sydney later in the year and is shaping up to be a goodun.
Next up is South Australia, which will be held at Kinetto Coffee and Kitchen in Adelaide’s CBD on the 18th June. For more information on the remaining heats and how to join in, click here.
All images via BeanScene.
This week the Breezey Masters 2019 competition continued as we headed to Specialty Coffee Curators in Marrickville, Sydney, for the NSW heat. Catch all the action from the night below.
Specialty Coffee Curators in Marrickville, Sydney, was the host of the NSW heat of our Breezey Masters 2019 and what a night it was!
Twenty-six eager baristas showed off their awesome latte skills to impress judges, Lucky Salvador, Demelza Jones, Caleb Holstein and Dee Almeddine.
During a number of rounds, the energy was electric with each competitor battling their nerves to create insane hearts, swans, tulips and rosettas.
However, there was one barista who lead the charge throughout the night and came out on top. Huge congratulations to Enzen Liu from Cuckoo Callay, Newtown, who was crowned champ and took home $1,000 and a NSW limited edition Breezey Masters jug. Enzen will be back in September to have a crack at being crowned the 2019 Grand Breezey Master.
Huge thank you again to Specialty Coffee Curators for hosting and everyone that came down to support – the energy was incredible.
Next up in the Breezey Master’s hot seat – Melbourne. We can’t wait to see what amazing latte skills you’ve got up your sleeve.
Launched just last year and already making a big impact on the industry, we caught up with SAME CUP founder, Demelza Jones, to get the lowdown her passion project that aims to promote inclusivity, empowerment and a real path to success for women and LGBTQI+ in the Australian specialty coffee scene. Demelza had been in the coffee game for around eleven years before a lightbulb moment lead to her launching this amazing initiative.
How did SAME CUP come about?
Listening to her story made me think about the really average things that have happened to me in my career and how they must happen to other people all the time. She gained a lot of support and began doing really great work educating the US coffee community about their rights and responsibilities around sexual harassment and mental health, amongst other topics.
After that, I attended Barista Connect, a networking event run by women for women in the coffee industry. It was the first time I was around industry peers that I respected and admired and yet felt equal, open and heard. Everyone was so keen to learn about each other and no one spent time tooting their own horns – it was magical. I didn’t realise how much I needed that at the time.
These events were the catalyst for the creation of SAME CUP. Since its initial conception in August / September 2018 and launch in November 2018, it has grown and evolved like any good passion project.
It started as a small side project to empower women in coffee, but then I saw just how many others faced the same plight as women in the industry. SAME CUP is now an organisation with the goal of empowering ALL minorities in coffee through education and networking.
Can you explain your mission statement?
“More diversity in positions of influence and power” is the mission statement. I think it’s pretty self-explanatory haha.
I want to see more genders, sexualities, abilities, cultures, colours and backgrounds in positions of power. This is not only beneficial for business as it brings a new and valuable perspective to your decisions, but it strengthens the industry and brings hope to the younger generation of coffee professionals. If you can see it, you can be it.
When I speak with people about hiring a more gender diverse team I am often met with, “I hire the best person for the job. I am not going to just hire a woman because they are a woman”.
Well, I reply to that – “Why aren’t they the best person for the job? What opportunity for professional growth have they missed out on? How did they fall through the cracks?”.
That’s where SAME CUP comes in. We are here to provide those opportunities for professional development, networking and education. Education covers not only coffee but about your rights in the workplace, mental and physical health and anything else that can contribute to your personal and professional development. I want to make you the best person for the job.
Why is there a need for something like SAME CUP here in Australia?
I wish there wasn’t, but I have seen first-hand how much a bit of support, encouragement and well-timed advice can help a person overcome obstacles and advance in their career.
Kindness and encouragement are needed everywhere.
What have been the key moments in the SAME CUP journey so far?
First, it was the initial call out. I asked if the coffee community was interested in the project and I had an overwhelmingly positive response. It was magical and really evoked an emotional response in me – like, how many others felt the same way and could see an opportunity for positive change.
Second, my nomination for ASCA Coffee Woman of the Year 2019. I can’t even begin to describe how elated I was. I didn’t take home the award but the fact that I made a positive impact on someone enough to nominate me is bonkers. I haven’t even scratched the surface with SAME CUP yet but that nomination tells me I am on the right track.
How can people get involved and support SAME CUP?
Right now SAME CUP is involved in a lot of events supporting education and skill sharing within the NSW coffee community. Buy a ticket and come along! We also have some pretty rad merchandise that you can DM me about (@samecup).
We also have a chuffed.org campaign that is always open – just search “SAME CUP”, choose your donation amount and get ready to get sweet merch in the post. If you are a business that wishes to support us there is a corporate sponsorship tier available too.
We have a huge and exciting project on the horizon – ready to launch in a couple of months! Hint: SAME CUP vibes will ‘pour’ into your home every month……
What can we expect from SAME CUP in the next year?
The exciting project we are working on will hopefully create some cash flow so we can pour more time and money into SAME CUP. If it goes well – I may even be able to pay myself a wage and commit to SAME CUP full time! YAY!
Look out for us dabbling in podcasts, awards nights and workshops!
Anything else you’d like to add?
Back yourself. You are stronger and more deserved than you think.
Follow the incred Demelza and co on Insta here.
We caught up with Simon Gautherin, Q Arabica Grader and SCA professional barista, whose goal is to change the way coffee education is taught by bringing it more structure and professionalism. Simon discussed his recently launched boot camp, ‘Talking Taste’, a sensory course helping students effectively taste and communicate their experience with coffee.
Can you tell us about your new sensory boot camp?
Coffee drinking is a sensory experience which utilises three of our senses: olfaction, gustation and somatosensation. However, most of the time people see it as a tasting experience, forgetting that other senses are involved in the process. In order to fully assess and understand that experience, we need to understand how our senses are triggered whilst we drink coffee. ‘Talking Taste’ is my latest course designed to burst myths about coffee tasting and provide coffee amateurs and professionals with the tools to understand and analyse what they drink.
Can you give us an overview of what the course will entail?
Throughout the day we’ll be tasting about ten different coffees of different qualities or profiles and we’ll deeply analyse them using a matrix I have designed to understand and break down the overall experience.
What new skills will be learnt on the course?
By the end of the course, attendees will be able to understand what goes into a cup of coffee, what we are interested in during that sensory experience and how to analyse it and effectively talk about it.
Why is it important for baristas to learn these skills?
The industry is currently fairly good at training people to make espresso shots and steaming milk. However, most baristas are not able to tell if the coffee they’re serving is on point or not and if not, how to improve it. Getting the best out of a coffee is called ‘dialling in’ and it is paramount to be able to dial in if you work behind the bar. The issue is that you can’t dial in and troubleshoot a coffee that isn’t tasting right if you can’t properly analyse and break down what you are experiencing.
For example, when you are sick you go to the doctor and the consultation always has the same structure: observation of the patient, analysis and interpretation of the illness and a prescription to cure it. The same process needs to happen when you’re roasting or brewing coffee: observation of the brew, interpretation of what went wrong or might have caused a defect, plan to improve the next brew and fix that issue. This course is designed to provide students with a mastery of the first step: a methodical observation.
Do you have any plans to expand on the course and offer different courses or different levels?
As mentioned above, the approach I have to improving my brews is always in three steps. This is level one, and I’ll be releasing levels two and three in the next few months.
What else do you have in the pipeline?
More sensory training lined up for the rest of the year. I genuinely believe it is the pillar of our industry and we won’t be able to move forward until we have a better structure in the way we analyse and communicate about coffee.
To find out more about the training courses Simon offers, hit him up on Insta here.
This week we kicked off the Breezey Masters for 2019 in Brisbane at Extraction Artisan Coffee. Catch all the action from the night below.
The Breezey Masters returned with a bang this week and started in style as our pals at Extraction Artisan Coffee hosted the Queensland heat of this year’s competition.
Each of the talented 24 competitors battled it out with their best latte art hearts, swans, tulips and rosettas with the hope of impressing the judges, Jeff Dutton, Alex Milosevic, Richard Silipo and Daniel Smith, and being crowned the state champion.
Compered by Dimitri Piliouras, the competition was tight throughout the evening, which made for an exciting final between Maiko Morimoto, Kyujong Han, Naoto Tanabe and Jake Huang, who all put on an impressive display.
In an unexpected twist of events, Maiko and Kyujong were neck and neck as the final concluded, meaning they had to produce another free pour in a tiebreaker round, making the judges’ jobs extremely tough.
As both baristas were put under pressure one more time to produce a free pour in just one minute, Extraction Artisan Coffee barista Maiko came out on top, pipping Kyujong to the post in the final round.
Huge congratulations to Maiko for winning the Queensland heat and taking home $1,000. Maiko will be back in September to have a crack at being crowned the 2019 Grand Breezey Master.
Special thanks to Cafe Culture for organising the event and Extraction Artisan Coffee for hosting the evening and letting the baristas use their stunning Aremde Nexus One machine, plus huge thanks to everyone who made the effort to come out and show support and make the night a huge success.
Click here view the rest of the Breezey Masters regional dates.
With the Breezey Masters kicking off for 2019 today, Tuesday May 7th, in Brisbane, we caught up with last year’s winner, Perth champion Vicky Chuaybamrung. Vicky gave us an insight into competing in the competition and provided us with her top tips for Breezey Masters success.
What was your favourite thing about competing in the Breezey Masters?
My favourite thing would have to be getting to meet all the people in the coffee industry from not just in Australia, but other parts of the world! It was a surreal experience and I’m glad I got to be part of it. I am forever grateful for everything and everyone I met along the way.
What was your favourite round in the Breezey Masters?
My favourite round was the free pour round because this is the round where I get to showcase my uniqueness and the techniques involved in delivering latte art.
Did you have a chance to practice outside of work hours before competing?
I don’t practice as much as I would like to, but when I do I spend a lot of time perfecting my free pour. I try to get back to pouring basic patterns as well, because at the end of the day, basic foundation is important.
The Breezey Masters can be quite nerve-wracking. How did you manage to keep it together on the night?
Practice makes perfect! So, keep practicing pouring in front of other people and when you’re actually competing, just imagine they’re your friends.
What tips do you have for using Almond Breeze Barista Blend for latte art?
My only tip for pouring with Almond Breeze Barista Blend would be to texture the milk carefully. Alternate milk, such as Almond Breeze, heats up really fast, so you only have a few second window to “stretch” it and texture it to create that wonderful micro-foam.
Any top tips for keeping a steady hand?
This sounds cliche, but believe in yourself. You should already be proud of yourself for competing and showing off your skills in front of a lot of people!
Any tips for making sure you remain within the time limit for each round?
Honestly; practice, practice, practice! You can’t take too long pouring almond milk anyway, the milk splits easily. Just make sure you pour nice clean patterns instead of complicated and messy ones.
How important is it to have supporters there on the night?
Super important! They help you calm your nerves.
You’re competing again this year to hold onto your 2018 crown. What will you do differently?
Yes, for sure! I think I just want to have fun and just meet more people. If I win, amazing, but if I don’t then its another good learning curve. I want to do this new pattern I created. It’s not complicated, but I have never seen it done anywhere else. I think it could be a game changer.
In celebration of Mother’s Day on the 12th May, we caught up with Marian and Jack Nelson, the mother and son duo behind Cocoa & Rose, a charming and intimate café in the heart of Perth, with both French and Filipino influences. Marian and Jack took over the café in 2014 and have been working together running it ever since. We discussed how the mother/son duo came about, what the best things about working together are and more.
How did the decision to go into business as a mother/son duo come about?
Marian: I believe it was the occurrence of events in our lives during that time that prompted the decision to go into business as a mother/son duo. I was in the middle of divorce and all I wanted was to pick up the pieces and start something that would keep me occupied and challenged, thus to keep my mind off the difficult situation I was in. My son at that time was in his gap year trying to figure out what he wanted, needing a job to be able to become independent. And then there happened to be a friend’s daughter selling her business (Cocoa & Rose). That’s when a new chapter in our lives begin.
What’s the best part about working together?
Marian: As a mum, there’s always the feeling of pride when I work with my son. We may not always have the same idea on some things, but that gives us a chance to challenge one another. We know we both want the best for Cocoa & Rose. As with making coffee, the best thing about this mother-son barista relationship once we both became more experienced in the field is that we were able to exchange ideas about our individual preferences when making coffee and figure out which ones work more effectively. We discuss a lot about customer’s preferences, speed, importance (or not) of latte art, and most importantly how we can make our coffee taste consistent regardless of who is making the shot.
Jack: Getting to laugh and joke around about stuff. It’s always great when we’re not taking everything too seriously.
What has this partnership taught you about one another/how has it affected your relationship?
Marian: This partnership taught me how important it is to have someone I can trust and to have someone I can get new ideas from. I believe this partnership has made our mother-son relationship stronger because we know how much hard work we put into the business.
Jack: It’s taught me not to mix work and family – just kidding!
What draws people to your café(s)?
Marian: Good coffee, delicious food and happy team members that always smile.
Jack: Apart from the yummy coffee and food, I’d have to say our staff. We’ve got really great staff here who are always super friendly and great with our customers.
You are both musicians and the café hosts jam sessions for classical and jazz musicians. Can you tell us about the importance of music in your cafes?
Marian: We have a piano in the shop and sometimes we have guests play it. Some guests or passersby would actually come in just to play. It’s great! We love music and guests enjoy the music too. Actually, you will find some reviews in google and Trip Advisor mentioning the piano playing. Music is very important in our cafe, it creates a positive aura and people are happy.
Jack: My mum has always encouraged me to pursue music from a young age and it has always played a major role in my life. I could go on about how it’s relaxing and adds to the atmosphere of the café, but really it’s important to our café because it’s important to both us.
Cocoa & Rose features elements of both Filipino and French culture—how did this combination come about?
Marian: I am originally from the Philippines. I have a favourite Filipino dish (adobo) that my dad always cooked when I was young and I included that in our menu. This adobo dish has been accepted quite well in Perth. As with the French culture, I actually speak the language. I learnt it as part of my music course at uni and I performed a full repertoire of French music in my vocal recital for the Master of Music degree at the University of Western Australia. Jack went to a French nursery school when we were living in Dubai, UAE, and he had French subjects in high school which he was so good at (during that time) and even received a merit certificate for it. So, as you see, the music, Filipino and French culture represent us and this sets Cocoa & Rose apart from other cafés in town.
Any advice for someone taking over or opening a café?
Marian: From a managerial perspective, I would say choose the right team members who will support your company’s vision and who will treat your customers pleasantly all the time.
What surprised you most during barista training?
Jack: What surprised me most is how precise and scientific coffee is. It was pretty crazy to learn about all the different factors that have an affect on how the final product tastes.
What does the future have in store for Cocoa & Rose?
Marian: Cocoa & Rose would like to try a mobile coffee van to serve corporate and community events.
Check out Cocoa & Rose’s website here.
On the 23rd April, our friends at Brewtown Newtown hosted their first latte art smackdown, a special occasion to mark the Newtown café’s official comeback after their devastating fire back in October.
The night saw 16 baristas battle it out to showcase their skills through a series of knock-out rounds. The baristas created different latte art patterns using a variety of milks, including Almond Breeze Barista Blend in the semi-finals.
After a tense and exciting night, Sydney barista June Kim was crowned the Brewtown Newtown smackdown winner. We caught up with June after his win, to get his thoughts on the night’s events.
Congratulations on winning the Brewtown Newtown smackdown last week, how was the night for you? How did you celebrate your win?
It was a really good time for me and a lucky night, thank you to all the sponsors and the supporters. After the smackdown, our Korean barista crews went out for a drink and celebrated the night with nice beers and crazy burgers!
There was a strong turnout in support of the night. What’s the best thing about being a part of the Sydney barista community?
It’s good to be part of the Sydney barista community because all of the baristas get along with each other, get to share information and gather around and do smackdowns like the Brewtown smackdown.
What’s your favourite latte art design to pour and why?
My favourite pattern is an owl and a queen bee. The owl is my 2019 ASCA pattern and the queen bee is the 2018 Australian Latte Art Champion Shinsaku Fukayama’s pattern. I find both patterns nice and easy to follow, but not too simple, and people can easily recognise what they are.
Your signature pour in the last round was a bunny, how long has that taken you to perfect?
Actually, it is not too difficult to draw a bunny. I guess most of the competitors were nervous when they poured! The most important thing is how confident you are and not to shake. I was really confident and had been practicing for a long time, so I didn’t shake too much.
Are there any designs that you’re still to perfect?
Yes, I have two designs I am working on! The first one is Alice‘s Bambi pattern. She won second place in the 2018/19 ASCA Latte Art Championship and has very delicate skills; I’d like to pour Alice’s pattern.
The second one is Irvine’s parrot pattern. Irvine is the 2018 World Latte Art champion. I like him because he pours very creative latte art and I’d like to make creative latte art like him.
What’s the best thing about competing in latte art smackdowns?
It is important that the rules are well organised. If the rules are a mess, competitors and audiences can get confused. Latte art smackdowns are fun as you get to enjoy them with barista friends and win prizes!
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start competing in smackdowns?
Follow the rules, don’t be shy, meet the challenge, enjoy the moment!
Do you have any plans for any more competitions?
Yes, of course. A big latte art competition called Power Brew World Championship is coming up in August at Specialty Coffee Curators. I’m also waiting for the 2020 ASCA latte art competition because I will be joining again with my friends!
With over 2.5 billion cups of coffee being consumed across the world daily and the industry in Australia booming, the impact the coffee industry has on the environment is increasing.
With 64% of baristas surveyed in the Australian Barista Census admitting they think about the coffee sector’s impact on the environment, at BaristasforBaristas.com we are continuously on the hunt for ways that we can all come together and cut back on our impact on the environment so that we can share them with you.
Coffee granule wastage is hard to avoid and often remaining granules are thrown away without a second thought. However, there are clever and creative ways that coffee grinds can be reused for in the home, the garden and beyond. Here are just a few of them.
1. Add coffee grinds to your compost heap. Coffee is high in nitrogen, which your compost needs. Just don’t overdo it – compost needs to be balanced and coffee contains acid.
2. Use as bug repellents around the bottom of your plants. The ants and snails don’t like the grit, because they hate to crawl over it. I can only presume it scratches their little bellies.
3. It is said feral cats and strays hate coffee and that if you put coffee grinds in areas of your garden, the cats will not come back.
4. Put a small container in the back of your fridge to absorb odours. Much like bicarbonate of soda, it does a great job of absorbing smells.
5. Place in a small vase or cup in your communal rooms as a great odour repeller.
6. Make candles with them so your house smells like delicious coffee.
7. Use in a coffee scrub for your face and body. The coffee boosts circulation and helps to fight cellulite too.
8. Use them to scent your homemade soap so you smell like coffee all day.
9. Use the grounds in your hair before shampooing to get rid of any buildup – it is like an incredible exfoliant for your hair.
10. Put a little in your vase with flowers to extend their shelf life.
Tips sourced from The Art of the Natural Home by Rebecca Sullivan (Kyle Books, $39.99).
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.
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?
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 BaristasforBaristas.com 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 (18th June 2019)
Darwin (25th June 2019)
Perth (16th 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 www.cafeculture.com.
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 onacoffee.com.au/easter 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 www.BaristasforBaristas.com 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 www.BaristasforBaristas.com.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
Managing Director Café Culture International.
Discover the BaristasforBaristas.com official Christmas gift guide, featuring all the essentials to keep any coffee fan happy this festive season.
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.
Available in a variety of colours, the Henry Bib Apron is a cool and contemporary choice for any barista.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 latteartvideochallenge.com