Han Tran

2016 Vietnam Barista Champion Han Tran makes tracks

There are two traditional types of barista in Vietnam according to Han Tran: those that work in street vendors selling roadside coffee that’s “dark, dense, and bitter Robusta” or in male-dominated cafés that are attracted more to the female baristas than the overpriced beverage in front of them. 

When Han told her parents she wanted to pursue a career in coffee, naturally, she says, you can imagine their disapproving reaction. 

“They were against it,” she says. “Barista work had a bad reputation because of the stereotypes. A barista was not considered a profession in Vietnam. It was not respected. My parents were worried for my safety and that I would not earn a secure income.” Read more

Australian Subtropical Coffee Association

Australian Subtropical Coffee Association on Australia’s home-grown history

“You grow coffee in Australia?” I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve been asked this question. 

For the record, yes, we do. The first coffee seed arrived with the First Fleet around 1788, but it did not survive in the harsh climate of Port Jackson in Sydney Harbour. However, there were many efforts to establish coffee in the warmer climates of the northern rivers of New South Wales and Queensland.

Back in 1889, almost 130 years ago, the North Coast of NSW actually exported 83,066 pounds or 37.71 tonnes of raw and prepared coffee, all picked by hand. Read more

Zest Specialty Coffee

Zest Specialty Coffee on how each step in the chain contributes to flavour

In my early days as a barista, supply chain blame always came to the fore whenever there was a complaint from a customer about the coffee. An unskilled barista would blame the roaster, the roaster would blame the green beans.

Having trust in the production chain, however, is crucial. The end flavour of a coffee relies on the strong journey of skill and transparency throughout the chain. Each link has to trust every link before them. Trust that the green beans were bought with good faith on quality, trust that the roaster has the right profiles to get the best out of the coffee, and trust that the barista has the skills and equipment to extract the most flavour. Read more

Milklab Barista Battle Series

MilkLab Barista Battle Series winner Victor Vu visits origin

Victor Vu has a talent for latte art. He’s used to thrilling large audiences with his original designs and creative abstract patterns. 

He proved his skill when he won the MilkLab Barista Battle Series final at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo in March. He crafted three designs using MilkLab’s range of alternative milks: soy milk, macadamia milk, and lactose-free milk.   Read more

East Coast Espresso

East Coast Espresso designs manual milk texturing system

A surgeon is known for their steady hands, attention to detail, and extreme precision. In the operating room that is East Coast Espresso in Brunswick, Victoria, Technical Director Jordan Elkurdi shares similar traits. His utensils are evenly aligned, his materials are cut to perfection, and he works methodically to build his newest creation, Mercury Nero Steam Hub. 

The dedicated manual milk-texturing machine has been Jordan’s core focus for the past two years. Besides operating East Coast Espresso, a coffee machine and grinder service company with his brother-in-law Sam Sadik in Victoria, Jordan’s mind constantly ticks over with new ideas and ways to bring them to life.  Read more

Cirrus

Cirrus about sustainability

If we time travel to the year 2020, what would the modern age café look like? Would there be robotic baristas, self-serving espresso machines, and Willy Wonka inspired installations? Many would argue this outlook is already underway. But what about an eco-friendly café?

According to Brendan Condon, Director of Cirrus Coffee and Australian Ecosystem, it’s likely that cafés will be operating with 100 per cent renewable energy generated at source or purchased over the grid. Chefs would be cooking on induction cooktops rather than gas, and coffee grounds and food waste will be cycled into cafés’ own pop-up farms. Single-use coffee cups will also be eliminated or at the very least, made of only 100 per cent compostable and sustainable materials.  Read more

ST ALi

ST. Ali Owner Salvatore Malatesta’s creative solutions

Spending the morning with Salvatore Malatesta looks like a scene out of The West Wing. Inside the engine room, meetings are held back to back and some intertwine with each other, from a menu consultation to a discussion on solar energy. Salvatore brings out hard-hitting questions, evidence of his law background and efficiency to just “get to the point”. Occasionally, he pauses to reply to a text message or buzz his PA for a contact. No two days are the same for the owner of one of the county’s most iconic coffee roasters. Salvatore’s role is not about bean selection or the inner workings of roast profiles. His job is to take his business from a roasting brand to a creative agency. Read more

Steve Wrightson of Mocopan Coffee playing to win

Stepping out onto Sydney’s freshly manicured Allianz Stadium dressed in the Sydney Roosters’ iconic red, white and blue jersey is a memory few are lucky to share, but one Steve Wrightson recalls well.

“It’s electric. I just loved playing the game of rugby league,” Steve says. “I played half a dozen games as a professional rugby league player until injury forced me to retire early.”

Steve was a proud Roosters player, but his heart always stayed with his childhood team, the South Sydney Rabbitohs.  Read more

ASCA says game on

It’s competition season once again.For the Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) Board, this is one of our favourite times of the year. We love feeling the excitement of our members and experiencing the passion of the competitors. 

The 2019 ASCA regional championships kicked off on 15 September with the Northern Region, followed by the Southern Region from 13 to 14 October, Central Region from 27 to 28 October, and Western Region from 3 to 4 November. 

If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to head to your nearest championship to see what our incredible barista community is capable of. It’s impressive to see a new generation of talent coming through the ranks, and repeat offenders who believe that persistence pays off, and indeed it does. Read more

Anna Polyviou: the princess of pastry

Anna Polyviou is a chef with artistic flair, edgy look, and carefree attitude. With her trademark pink mohawk hair and zest for life, it’s little wonder that the ‘Punk Princess of Pastry’ captivates audiences on TV screens and on paper. 

Anna’s the first to admit she likes pushing the limits, both in her food creations and daily routine. Recently, she decided to go on a month-long national tour to launch her new Sweet Street cook book, travelling from Perth to Melbourne, Sydney to Canberra, and Darwin to Brisbane, cooking with young kids and signing books for anyone who asked. 

“I can’t wait for people to go buy the book from the shops but I also wanted to take the opportunity to personalise the experience for my supporters,” Anna says. “I wanted the chance to meet people, talk about the book, why it’s designed, and what it involves, because it’s not just an average book. It’s been four to five years in the making.” Read more