Meet the Baristas
Your barista first knows you by coffee preference, and the face you pull when you take your first sip (or inspect their art). Then they’ll know you by name and by coffee, and perhaps eventually a little about your life through chats over the coffee machine. But what do you know about them? We had a chat with four of South Wharf’s best baristas.
Andrew first started making coffee back in 2006 as an after-school job when he lived in Gympie, Queensland. “I started barista-ing and from there I just left school and took over as the manager pretty much straight away. It’s just gone from there to there to there and now here I am in Melbourne!”
Andrew prefers being on the machine to management. “I wanted to be back in store, it’s really, really good to be back on a more personal level with guests and I’m learning lots. It’s fantastic that I get to roast as well.”
Citizen Café & Bar
Bridie McKendrick has been a barista for over 13 years, and has started at Citizen Café before it opened about three years ago. She was able to help choose the signature blend made especially for Citizen Café & Bar. “It has really beautiful flavours,” she says. “It’s really smooth, to most people’s taste it’s not super strong or super weak so most people really like it.”
Bridie’s job complements her passions. “I’ve always loved hospitality. I love customer service,” she says. “And just got into coffee and love drinking coffee, so I therefore love making a really good coffee. I love coffee art.”
The Boatbuilders Yard
Justin Lott travelled overseas and worked on the Mornington Peninsula before moving to Melbourne and joining The Boatbuilders Yard team. He drinks 6 – 8 coffees a day. “I drink a lot of espressos and usually start the day with a strong flat white or strong soy flat white,” he says.
He appreciates the impact a good (or bad) coffee has. “It’s part of their routine. If you mess up with that, you mess with their day. I like the interaction with the customers and also – just caffeinating people – it makes them happy. You can’t really be unhappy with getting a good coffee.”
The Common Man
Ross Roberts has an accent like Sean Connery’s and two ‘r’s in his name – excellent planning on the part of his parents. He finished his Mechanical Engineering degree in Scotland before coming to Australia to look for work. “But I just started working in a bar because I didn’t want to get straight into a big boy job,” he says. It was when he was working on a farm in Queensland that he heard about a job at The Common Man through a friend. “I’d made coffees before but just back at home, a different standard to Melbourne coffee.”
He quickly learnt to make coffee to Melbourne rather than Glasgow standard, which is appreciated by the many regulars. “There are loads of people that work in the business buildings around that are in every morning for their $2 coffee. So there’s always a morning rush in between 8am – 10am.”