In the past 12 years Faith McMurtrie has been a management consultant in Melbourne, set up a business in Queensland, and is now busily running Mad About Coffee & Tea, a multifaceted coffee shop in Darwin.
“When my partner and I came to Darwin four years ago there weren’t too many people doing specialty coffee,” Faith says. “Now there’s a group called the Baristas of Darwin who run smackdowns around the city, and there’s new cafés putting a lot of time and effort into training their baristas.”
Faith has played no small part in inspiring Darwin’s specialty coffee industry. As a certified trainer, Faith runs intimate barista training courses from her Mad About Coffee & Tea café in Parap. Participants are a mix of café and home baristas, as well as general enthusiasts.
“The majority of those who sign up are home enthusiasts who want to take their skills to another level,” Faith says. “I always love that moment when they realise just how much work goes into producing a great coffee – I tell them it’ll take about a thousand coffees before they achieve consistency.”
When Faith moved from Queensland she saw the potential for someone to be selling really good wholesale coffee in the Northern Territory. “We started working with Veneziano Coffee Roasters in 2006,” says Faith. “To say that they’ve been instrumental in helping us get things running would be understating the support they’ve offered.”
Veneziano flew their latte art champion Jean-Paul Sutton to Darwin when Mad About Coffee & Tea first opened its doors. Faith invited local baristas into the café to learn the tricks of the trade from him. Faith now serves a daily rotation of Veneziano, her own Five Elements blends and Toby’s Estate coffee from the café.
“Veneziano assisted with the creation of Five Elements, which represents the five senses,” says Faith. “People are enticed into the store when they see our bright colours, then they step in and are wowed by the smell. They hear the coffee equipment and the music playing over the speakers. Then they taste our coffee and are really immersed in the experience.”