Owner and Founder
What other coffee jobs have you had?
Before Proud Mary, I was a partner in a cafe called Liar Liar, also in Melbourne. This was back in 2007, and it was at the beginning of the third wave for Australia. Back then we were excited to have the second Clover in Australia. Before that, I was in Perth, Western Australia, managing a cafe called Lemon Espresso. We cranked the tunes and pumped out the coffee. At this time I was competing and won the Western Australia Barista Champs. This lead to me traveling to the States and being inspired by the coffee scene there, drinking my first Geisha, and driving all the way from San Diego to Vancouver and back, buying records and drinking coffee. It was that trip that really inspired me to bring back some new ideas to the Australian coffee scene.
What’s your favorite part about working in coffee?
The people! I love working with people, keeping it real, cranking the tunes, being yourself! No suit and tie, no bullshit. Being part of the local community and doing our best to look after them. Roasting coffee allows us to connect with the wider coffee community all over the globe—farmers, roasters, and baristas. What an amazing gift that is.
Where do you ideally see yourself in 10 years?
I would like to think we can keep inspiring people to do good things in the industry, having even more friends and relationships around the world and still be having fun. What I have learnt in the 15 years I have been in the industry is that the more you know about coffee, the more you realise you don’t know. The coffee quest is for life—I just hope I can keep having fun and make a solid difference in my lifetime.
Who and what inspires you?
All the people that put the coffee first inspire me. Coffee does not lie, if you’re trying to trick someone or sneak something past someone. The coffee will always call you out. Big props to Emilio Lopez in El Salvador, Annabella Meneses in Guatemala, Flavio Borem, the mad professor from Brazil. The German engineers, Norwegian roasters, U.S. baristas, Melbourne innovators—the list goes on and on. Genuine coffee enthusiasts, they all inspire me.
What are you drinking right now?
We just landed some samples of fresh crop Panama Geisha’s from Santa Teresa in Volcan. I have a serious love affair with Geisha from this region, totally different profile to Boquete, so elegant and vibrant. When samples are that good you have to do the right thing—every bean counts.
Crazy/memorable coffee experience you’d like to share?
It would have to be brewing and drinking coffee with the Wagner family in Carmo De Minas, Brazil. We have a really special relationship with these guys, and last year I was lucky enough to bring their coffee that we had roasted in Melbourne to their farm and brew it for them. I was travelling with a Baratza grinder, a Bona Vita kettle, and V60—yes, I have my priorities right. It was so cool to see the farmers’ eyes light up, they felt so proud of their coffee. This kind of thing is really priceless and really humbling.
What are you doing when you’re not doing coffee?
These days I have a pretty busy life—wife, two kids, and two dogs. There is not much time left to get up to mischief. I used to spend a lot of time spinning tunes, skateboarding, and surfing. I don’t get much time for that stuff anymore but I’m always cranking tunes and love every minute of my days.