Ollie and the Auckland Latte Art Jam

Oliver Simon was the victor at the recent NZ Barista Guild Latte Art Jam held at Auckland’s Toasted Espresso.
Oliver has been working at Coffee Supreme’s Douglas Street cafe for about 3 months and was working for Atomic Coffee for about a year prior to that.
He was really stoked to be able to take out the event last night and was impressed by the high calibre of contestants.
He said it was also great practice for the upcoming NZ Latte Art Championship which he is planning to enter in August.
Here’s a quick Q & A with Ollie:

What is your earliest coffee related experience?
When I was a little kid, my parents used to always go out for morning coffees and I would get dragged along every time. I hated it and it wasn’t until I was in my teenage years that I actually started drinking coffee and saw what it was all about.
When / why did you first get working in coffee?
My first ever job was at a café called Sitting Duck where I started as a part time waiter. I got sent on a coffee-making course shortly before the head barista left and was quickly put in as weekend coffee maker and had to teach myself most things about my job!
What led you to becoming a barista?
I had a stint in Melbourne where I worked at Sensory Lab. I knew nothing about specialty coffee or brewing and it all fascinated me and really sparked my passion for coffee and want to make it and learn all about it.
What is the best part of your job?
When a customer is pushed outside of their comfort zone with a coffee choice and they come back to tell us how much they loved it and appreciated it. Very satisfying.
Talk us through a typical work day
Get up several hours before the sun, get to work and set up the slayer, make coffees for the day, take a few brews around and talk to people about them, afternoon wind up, head home.
What are your roles outside of making coffee?
I have to keep customers informed of our latest coffee offerings, talk and socialise with everyone coming and going and make sure everyone is enjoying themselves!
What is your favourite brew method and/or coffee origin and why?
Syphon. It was the first brew I ever tried and still the favourite. As for origin, I don’t really have a favourite but will generally lean towards Guatemalan coffees. Their COEs are incredible!
Tulip or rosetta?
Immaculately poured rosetta hands down.
What would be your dream ‘coffee experience’?
Probably head to Central America, Latino culture has fascinated me from a young age and can’t think of anything better than going to coffee farms and seeing where it all comes from, drinking coffee the way they do, going to rainforests and amazing beaches.