The Secret Life of Your Barista

Think of your favourite Barista. The terminally excited guy bouncing around the café at half past six in the morning, the girl who speaks so passionately when she’s explaining the crazy new brew method she’s just discovered. Us coffee folk are an obsessive and passionate bunch, driven mad by the pursuit of quality, and it usually shows in everything we do, not just coffee. Coffee is an art, it is a science and it is a journey with many paths.

Outside the cafe

What do we do to fill the time when we’re fully caffeinated and away from work? Usually, lots of creative and adventurous things. I know that once I’m away from work, I love craft beers – not just drinking them, but finding new ones and learning about how they’re made. Will is 4WD mad, and he’s always bombarding me with chat about what parts he wants to get for his truck and why they’ll make it so much more badass (even if said truck is his wife’s daily drive – therefore making HER the real badass). Matt is a massive foodie, and is always bragging about the delicious brunch he had on Sunday. There is no common theme that we all follow away from coffee, but they can all be taken back to our obsession with quality.

For me, coffee and beer happened at the same time. I fell in love with craft beer after a few mates and I all bought a different kind of brew to a Sunday session. I couldn’t help but try them all and make the link that like coffee, there are different techniques and methods involved in achieving a certain flavour. Since then, I’ve been caught in the loop of trying to wrap my palate around every pale ale and porter I can find by night, and tasting every Brazilian natural and Kenyan washed by day. While very different beverages, the passion and desire for discovery is strong.

My homie Dom up in Queensland, pretty much lives off coffee and barbecued meats. I can’t remember the last weekend that’s passed that I haven’t been left drooling all over my phone to a video of Dom sliding ribs out of a 12 hour slow cook, or shredding what seems to be half a cow he’s just finished smoking in his backyard. Experimenting with different cuts, different cook times and different sauces, marinades and rubs (sometimes infused with coffee – surprise, surprise!) gets Dom all hot and bothered, and it’s definitely something that we do with coffee as well. Each new bean we get needs to be roasted a few different ways, brewed through a few different devices, and tasted to decide what the best way to serve it is. You can’t tell someone how good something is until you’ve really experimented with it.

Our passion for coffee, like our passion for life

Coffee has a great deal of science behind it, and that involves a lot of testing. Testing that involves a lot of attention to detail and obsessing over the little things. The little things like the slight change to a grinders collar, or the single degree of temperature we heat the water to, can result in drastic changes to the final product. Often, we find ourselves applying this testing and torture in our minds to everything we do, and it is all in the name of quality. This whole thing we do with coffee is all for finding quality, and it shows in our lives as well. Wine and whiskey, cars and trucks, arts and food. All of the hobbies and pastimes coffee people chase after have a sense of quality to go with them. After all, that’s the goal, isn’t it? To get the absolute best out of all that life has to offer.

Sam McLoughlin
Sam’s love for coffee snowballed after completing his first Baristas training course when he was just 18. Since that time, Sam has been continually perfecting his skills in extraction, brewing and milk texturing in the fast paced café scene. Mastering precision, consistency and speed is a skill that can only be developed with experience, knowledge and a deep passion for exceptional coffee. Today, as one of our lead Baristas, Sam can be found pumping out sensational coffee in our Espresso Bar in the morning, working with our sourcing & roasting teams during the day and leading our Barista training classes in the evening. Sam’s a strong believer in the role of education in building an appreciation for Speciality Coffee in our community. He uses any opportunity to share his knowledge and experience with others. As a Barista, Sam loves guiding customers on their coffee journey, helping to build their understanding on different types of coffee, origins and brewing methods. Equally, he is a firm believer in sharing his skills and experience with other up and coming Baristas to ensure we are collectively building & sustaining a community of coffee lovers.
Sam McLoughlin

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