– Can you please introduce yourself in a few words.
My name is Aaron Barnard and I am a co-owner and manager of Voyager Espresso in NYC.

– What’s your story in the coffee industry?
I started working in coffee when I moved to NYC in 2014. I was originally working to pay the bills whilst I pursued music, but ended up liking working in the coffee industry more than the music industry. After managing another place for a while, I decided to put together a business plan so that I could open my own shop and do things a little differently. I was lucky enough to meet my business partner Prue Reid by a chance meeting and she liked my ideas and wanted to invest. We have been operating Voyager Espresso since mid December in 2015 and have been banging out coffees ever since!

– When did Voyager Espresso open and what is the story behind?
See above

– What’s your specialty and what makes you different?
I believe that through the accumulation of marginal gains we can provide an experience that is something truly special rather than trying to have a gimmick to set ourselves apart. If we are doing our jobs well, customers will not even know why they have just had an amazing experience, they will just leave our shop feeling good!

– What was your first coffee experience?
A chinese general store in my hometown of Melbourne made terrible lattes that I would proceed to put 3 sugars in!

– How/when have you discovered about specialty coffee? There are so many great coffee shops in Melbourne that I was drinking specialty coffee before I even realised that it was specialty. I just thought it tasted great! I really got in to the real geeky stuff when I was here in New York through working and also reading Barista Hustle.

– What was your best coffee experience?
Getting coffee at G & B in LA and Patricias Coffee Brewers in Melbourne. Both have great coffee and amazing service/workflow.

– Do you prepare coffee at home ? If yes, what method do you use?
Usually aeropress with a hand grinder I have or some iced coffee i have brought home from the shop.

– How do you like your coffee? Black, sugar and milk, iced, vietnamese style,…?
Black filter coffee hot and iced, espresso, cappuccinos depending on the weather and mood.

– How would you qualify yourself as coffee drinker (occasional, heavy, addict…)?
At least two coffees a day every day!

– Have you always been into the coffee industry? If not, what was your previous job?
I was a sound engineer in Melbourne and also a landscaper.

– Do you have another passion or a hobby besides coffee?
Music! I play in a band with a mate in my spare time.

– What other place would you recommend, anywhere in the world (coffee or not)?
G&B in LA and Patricias in Melbourne.

– What is/are your favorite website(s) to get information about coffee?
Barista Hustle and the community that has been built around it is an amazing resource.

– What would you say to people who don’t know much about coffee?
Try different
coffees roasted and prepared by different people and find what you like.

Thomas
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Thomas

Thomas Wyngaard Founder at OK Coffee, proud barista at OR Coffee, producer of Extasia radio show on Campus, Brussels.