10 Minutes With Jessica MacDonald

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Jessica MacDonald
Head Roaster
Square Mile Coffee Roasters
London, United Kingdom 

What other coffee jobs have you had?

I have worked in hospitality for about 15 years. I previously worked for a coffee events company where we made coffee at private events, exhibitions, etc., then they bought a roaster and I started roasting for them. Before that I lived in Melbourne and worked at a café that roasted all their own coffee, which is where I learnt to roast in the most basic of forms. Before that I worked in an R&B nightclub in the Goldcoast and various other bars.

Jess working the roaster at Square Mile Coffee Roasters in London.

Jess working the roaster at Square Mile Coffee Roasters in London.

What’s your favorite part about working in coffee?

The fact that I’m always learning something new. It’s never always the same. And the people I meet and the friendships I’ve made… Some of the most beautiful people are in coffee.

Jess with friends at the WBC after party in Melbourne in 2013. At top: Jess and her partner, past UK barista champ John Gordon, who also works for Square Mile. Below, from left: William Hernandez, 2013 Barista Champion  of El Salvador; Federico Bolanas and Lily Pacas, owners of Viva Espresso, where William works in San Salvador.

Jess with friends at the WBC after party in Melbourne in 2013. At top: Jess and her partner, past UK barista champ John Gordon, who also works for Square Mile. Below, from left: William Hernandez, 2013 Barista Champion of El Salvador; Federico Bolanas and Lily Pacas, owners of Viva Espresso, where William works in San Salvador.

Where do you ideally see yourself in 10 years?

Living in New Zealand on a farm with John [Gordon, past UK Barista Champion] surrounded by loads of animals and sunshine.

Who and what inspires you?

I know lots of really amazing people but I’m lucky enough to spend every day with the one person that inspires me the most: John Gordon. I’m inspired by how much he’s grown as a person and how caring he is of other people. His complete belief in what he can do is amazing; he can accomplish anything—even when I’m telling him that his ideas are crazy!

Jess and John in front, with friends, in a photo taken at the WBC after party in Vienna, Austria, in 2012.

Jess and John in front, with friends, in a photo taken at the WBC after party in Vienna, Austria, in 2012.

What are you drinking right now? 

Sparkling water.

Crazy coffee experience you’d like to share?

Most of my coffee experiences are fairly tame. My most memorable moment is having a producer thank me for what we do with her coffee and making sure they taste good. It was nice to hear that we had done a good job with them. I think as a roaster it’s one of your biggest fears—that you’ll mess up the roast and waste hours of hard work and care that’s gone into it before it even reaches you.

Jess is originally from New Zealand, but lives and works in London currently. She and John—a nature Aussie—have plans to move back to their part of the world and live in New Zealand.

Jess is originally from New Zealand, but lives and works in London currently. She and John—a nature Aussie—have plans to move back to their part of the world and live in New Zealand.

 

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.