For Ashley Cameron of K&Co in Mackay, Queensland, coffee is more than a job, it’s become a passion.
In the second Grinders Coffee Barista of the Month entry, Brand Ambassador Jonathan ‘Jono’ Goldthorpe spoke with Ashley about what draws him to the drink and how he learns and grows as a barista.
Located in HomeCo Mackay, K&Co is a true local favourite. Up and running for over six years, K&Co dishes out some of the freshest and tastiest food in the area.
“I honestly just stared working with coffee for a job and continued for the love,” Ashley says.
“I grew up in Mackay until I decided to move to Cairns for a change of scenery. I needed a job and ended up at Gloria Jeans before managing a McCafé site. My love of coffee began there. I moved back to Mackay and after a stint at JB Hi-Fi, I missed working with coffee and landed a job with K&CO. I’m now the store manager and have been with the business for 8 years.”
What do you love about coffee?
The chemistry of coffee. I love following the process from bean to cup and how every step affects the flavour.
What is you go-to coffee order?
If I’m having a hot coffee, it’s a Piccolo or an Iced frappe for a cold coffee.
What’s your favourite part of working as a barista?
The customers. Oh, and I really love latte art. (Check out our Insta! @kandcomackay)
What do you think are common mistakes baristas make and how can these be overcome?
Not being open to learning new stuff. You can always learn something new from other baristas except when you’re stuck in your ways. You need to have an open mind and be able to take criticism.
What do you think is special about Grinders Coffee?
We use the classic blend and its such a broad coffee that’s for everyone’s taste. It’s a good strong coffee that suits our market up here. Grinders is just a great brand if you’re thinking of changing, do it.
What’s your relationship like with Grinders Coffee?
Our rep, Lachie is great. He Provides great service and training and is always happy to help. Both Lachie and Jeff really support us.
What makes K&CO a great place work?
Our close-knit team is like a family. Kristy our owner is great to work for which is why I’ve been here for eight years. We’re always busy, in a beautiful location with lots of great regular customers.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m probably going to retire here. An 80-year-old barista at K&Co.
What’s the most complicated coffee order you’ve ever had to make?
A Prana Chai Frappe with Coffee on Almond
What new trends or changes have you seen coming from your customers or the industry?
Alternative milks. We use all of them already and they’re growing steadily. Oat milk is becoming increasingly popular and almond is a staple.
Learn more about working with Grinders Coffee at www.grinderscoffee.com.au
K&Co is located at HomeCo Mackay, Holts Rd, Mackay in Queensland.