What other coffee jobs have you had?
I haven’t had very many jobs actually! I graduated from University (Law and Arts degrees, admitted to the bar as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand) then ended up as Marketing Manager of Caffe L’affare in Wellington, NZ. Within about four years [I started] out as barista training manager and account manager there. It’s funny that my part time work throughout University determined my career more than my formal qualifications.
What’s your favorite part about working in coffee?
Coffee is unifying. When you love good coffee, you find you have so much more in common with others that love good coffee than just that coffee: eating out, design, priorities in life!
Where do you ideally see yourself in 10 years?
I feel like I’m working on two start ups which I love. I want to see them both flourish and still be working with both of them but having the scale of the businesses quite, quite different.
Who and what inspires you?
I draw a lot of inspiration from the fashion industry—the established houses like Chanel and Hermes, which work hard to stay relevant and distinctive—to new brands that are chipping away trying to stand out in a really crowded market.
What are you drinking right now?
My office is adjacent to Prefab, a 150-seater cafe also owned by ACME & CO. The baristas top me up with flat whites all day. The house blend is a Ethiopia, Brazil, Cuba mix and NZ milk is just so good. It’s more like eating than drinking! I’ve got a Rocket Evoluzione espresso machine at home and I’m lucky to be sent coffees from all over NZ to try. I only ever drink espresso at home. If I go out for coffee I like them to be serving pour over with high scoring coffees. I’m a big fan of East African coffees.
Crazy/memorable coffee experience you’d like to share?
I spent a month in Jimma building houses with Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia. Coffee trees actually had to be cleared for the land to build on. One of the women who prepared the coffee for us had a goitre (something I never thought I’d see); the neighborhood kids entertained themselves with toys made from tin cans and sang from trees. I felt simultaneously lucky that I lived in a country where good medical treatment was readily available but also mourned the fact that my home was so materialistic.
What you’re doing when you’re not doing coffee:
I’m a mom. I’m on 9 a.m. drop off and 3 p.m. pick up many days of the week. I love taking my son Otto to his swimming and karate and rugby… I think it’s a real luxury to be able to spend time with him during the week. So many of my friends don’t have that flexibility so their kids are in after school care five days a week. Otto’s a crack up—he thinks there’s so much beauty in the world and he’s right, there is!