Alastair McLeod is an Irishman with an Australian appreciation for quality coffee. He talks to BeanScene about European kitchens, his indigenous roots, and why six coffees a day is an acceptable quota.
Alastair McLeod still boasts a strong Irish accent after calling Brisbane home for the past 22 years, but in that time he’s adopted a love for all things quintessentially Australian: Vegemite toast, mangos, and coffee.
“I can still see my mummy and daddy in Belfast drinking instant coffee. My dad worked in cafes in Ireland and in restaurants throughout school, but Belfast wasn’t a discerning coffee culture growing up. It was in its formative years. They were serving instant coffee in the cafes,” Alastair says.Read more
Zest’s Mandy DelVecchio on how to explain the intricacies of specialty coffee flavour notes to an untrained palate.
At Zest, we’ve been exploring the specialty coffee lexicon for years. Our mission as roasters has been to properly translate what exactly flavour means to the people who still don’t get it.
For most of us in the coffee industry, the third wave has granted us the well-developed skill (and obsession) of tasting coffee. Cupping sessions for us are purpose-driven. We are savvy to the flavour wheel. We can pick tropical fruit notes and delicate floral, chocolate, and sticky pineapple-jam flavours with a single sip. But, for the everyday drinker, understanding flavour comes with a very different learning curve. Read more
Almond Breeze Barista Blend provides cafés with a great tasting and high performing low-sugar dairy alternative that ensures consumers can control how many calories go into their cup.
The “low-sugar” movement is gaining momentum in Australia. Schools, hospitals, and sporting venues in several states are banning the sale of sugar-rich soft drinks and junk food in their canteens and cafeterias. Numerous organisations including the World Health Organization and Australian Medical Association have called for a tax on sugary drinks, similar to those imposed on tobacco and alcohol. Read more
Simonelli Group CEO Fabio Ceccarani on adding market value and why it’s time for the manufacturing industry to invest in more sustainable practices.
Fabio Ceccarani is well aware that Italian espresso machine manufacturer Simonelli Group has a privileged position. It’s an industry leader in its field, yet is responsible for one of the most important parts of the value chain – the end result in the cup.
“It is an incredible honour to know that our machinery contributes to the customer’s coffee experience. But because of this privileged position, we also have a big responsibility to make coffee in the fairest and most sustainable and respectful way possible,” Fabio tells BeanScene.Read more
Water is one of only two ingredients required to make coffee, and its quality is almost as important as that of the beans.
While many baristas think of water quality in terms of how it affects filter coffee brewing, Dr Adam Carr of Seven Miles Coffee Roasters’ Coffee Science Education Centre (CSEC) says the same principles apply to espresso. Read more
Overcoming data free observations on Australia’s coffee production was a big hurdle in the early days.
Research in the subtropics during the 1980s and 1990s was challenged by such beliefs that coffee “must have shade to produce high quality” that “hand-picked coffee is better quality than machine harvested coffee”, or that “high altitude is required to grow the best quality coffee”. Read more
Even with the countless preparation and practice hours required to compete at world level, not every competitor will win. With the financial and mental investment high, what happens when the competition doesn’t go to plan? Stepping onto the stage with the backing of sponsors, family, friends, employers, colleagues, and customers is daunting, even more so on the world stage. With the right mindset, competitions can be richly rewarding, regardless of the result.
With intuitive skills and an impressive coaching ability, Masako Yamamoto coached and travelled with 2017 and 2018 New Zealand Latte Art Champion Leo Li to the World Championships in Brazil.
Masako says her background as a barista trainer gives her the invaluable skill to identify a student or staff’s strengths and weaknesses, and help bring them out.Read more
When people ask: “How was your origin trip?” I struggle to find the right words to capture everything and do the country justice.
However, if I had to summarise Uganda in just one word, it would be “industriousness”. Kampala, the country’s capital and largest city, buzzes with insane motorcycle taxis that operate on adrenaline and blind luck. Main roads are lined on both sides by a myriad of small businesses selling everything from luscious fruits to massive bedsteads and intricate wooden coffins. In some areas it’s a contrast between sophisticated restaurants and people living in corrugated iron shacks tens of metres away. Outside the cities and towns, the pace is slower but it felt like everyone was doing something or going somewhere. Read more
Minas Hill Coffee Founder Marcelo Brussi says his admiration for coffee farmers comes from his relationship with his grandfather, Francisco Brussi, who grew up working on coffee farms.
Francisco’s parents migrated from Italy to Brazil to work in coffee farms before he was born. After his father left the family when Francisco was 10, he, his mother and brother, moved to Sao Paulo. When Francisco was an adult, the State Department of Agriculture hired him to monitor coffee exports, due to his knowledge as a coffee picker and worker. Read more
Every producer thinks their farm is special, but in Gabriel Oliveira’s opinion, owning Bom Jesus is a matter of luck and merit.
Located at Alta Mogiana biome in Brazil, Bom Jesus is a picture perfect postcard of lush terrain, symmetrical rows of coffee trees, and natural vegetation.
As a child, Gabriel recalls playing among the drying coffee on his grandparent’s farm. He grew up with first-hand appreciation that coffee production was arduous, detailed, and extremely passionate work, but it was work that fascinated him. Read more