– Can you please introduce yourself in a few words.
I’m Gareth, I live in Hackney in London and I am the Training Manager at Square Mile Coffee Roasters.
– What’s your story in the coffee industry?
I’ve worked in specialty coffee for almost 6 years. I begun working as a dishwasher / hopeful barista at Bold Street Coffee in Liverpool, progressed to a barista role and ran another espresso bar for the company. After 2 and a half years I moved to London to work at Prufrock Coffee. After gaining a lot of valuable knowledge there, I begun working for Workshop Coffee in their Fitzrovia store, where I became the Bar Manager. I’ve now been in this role at Square Mile Coffee for 6 months.
– What’s your specialty and what makes you different?
I’ve been told I’m a people person, which is a very useful trait as a barista. In this role now, it’s amazing meeting baristas with a wide range of experience and in London, you meet people from all over the world. I enjoyed science lessons at school too, I can get a bit geeky sometimes, I like to understand what makes things happen.
– What was your first coffee experience?
My first exposure to coffee was the instant coffee I used to brew for my father. My first experience with coffee where I really enjoyed it myself was at Bold Street Coffee whilst I was at University. I never knew coffee could have so much flavour.
– What was your best coffee experience?
I’ve had many, but the overall best coffee experience I’ve ever had must be the filter and espresso I had at the restaurant Noma, roasted by Tim Wendelboe. It was the perfect finishing touch to one of the best meals and experiences I’ve had in my life. It was super sweet, bursting with flavour and presented in the most beautiful way. How specialty coffee should be served everywhere.
– Do you prepare coffee at home ? If yes, what method do you use?
I prepare more coffee at home now I don’t work on weekends. I mostly use V60, though I’m also really fond of the Clever Dripper. Way easier to brew when you’re multi-tasking and cooking bacon and eggs at the same time!
– How do you like your coffee? Black, sugar and milk, iced, vietnamese style,…?
I enjoy drinking filter without milk mostly. As long as it’s sweet. I do drink coffee with milk too, I love a cappuccino.
– How would you qualify yourself as coffee drinker (occasional, heavy, addict…)?
Addict unfortunately. I need it to perk up in the mornings.
– Have you always been into the coffee industry? If not, what was your previous job?
I used to work in an optician’s! I was once an aspiring optician. I think I made a good choice to not sit in a dark room all day.
– Do you have another passion or a hobby besides coffee?
I play guitar, I enjoy music a lot though I have never played in any bands or anything. Food and drink is the thing I enjoy must, when I visit a new city, I want to taste the best coffee, beer, wine, cocktails and food that city has to offer.
– What other place would you recommend, anywhere in the world (coffee or not)?
Copenhagen is my favourite city to visit. It has amazing food and drink in abundance. Not only does it have the quality, but every person I have met who works in the hospitality industry there is super passionate, knowledgable and excited about what they do. The restaurant Relæ is a perfect example of this and one of my favourite places to eat.
– What is/are your favorite website(s) to get information about coffee?
I visit Sprudge regularly, Daily Coffee News is good too.
– What would you say to people who don’t know much about coffee?
Be open-minded, there’s more to it than ‘just a coffee’. Don’t be afraid to pay more money for coffee, and if you do, focus on buying more coffee from the roasteries who make sure more money gets to the farmers.