A brief history of yourself: Originally from the entertainment industry, I have been involved in coffee now for many years. Together with my brother David, I have owned and operated four cafés in Brisbane, two wholesale coffee companies and a barista training facility in Sydney. This year we have just published a book on being a barista and three instructional videos and DVDs on espresso technique and latte art.
What do you like to drink when you’re not in a cafe?
Iced chocolates in summer time for sure. I’ve just purchased a juicer for home and fresh juice is also a nice change from coffee.
What’s your favourite café (not including your own)?
Piccadilly Café on Oxford St, Paddington. Jimmy knows how to look after his customers and his food is so fresh!
What’s the pick of the menu?
A good caffé mocha can’t be beaten. Hold the whipped cream (we’re not in the U.S.!) but don’t hold back on the chocolate sprinkles. This is a great drink especially in the afternoon.
Your favourite ingredient?
Really good milk with lots of protein. Riverina milk I find is the best. They don’t accept milk from dairies unless it has a minimum amount of fat and protein. As it’s the protein in the milk that helps it to froth, it is a vital ingredient. Inferior milk cannot get you that beautiful creamy, shiny, textured milk.
The most overrated ingredient?
100% Arabica beans. Coffee companies that boast that their blend is 100% Arabica believe that their coffee is the best that money can buy. A blend with a small amount of high-grade West African robusta beans included can be extremely palatable. People who say that robusta coffee is rubbish need to get up to speed with present-day coffee production!
Your most expensive menu flop?
We created a coffee drink that had chocolate drinking powder, syrup, coffee, frothed milk, chai powder and was finished off with chocolate fudge topping. We called it "The Dominator" because it contained all our ingredients used in the making of all of our other drinks. Because of the ingredients, it was expensive and failed miserably. We tried, but I guess you just can’t change people’s drinking habits. Once a decaf skinny latte person, always a decaf skinny latte person, I suppose.
The next big hospitality/foodservice trend?
Cafés whose specialty is just espressos (short blacks) like it was in George Street in Sydney back in the 40’s. Still popular in Italy, maybe it will eventually be revived here if there is a swing back to coffee "basics."
How would you spend a couple of million dollar