The Barista – Guy McCracken

Guy McCracken is our newest coffee champion. At the weekend he surpassed stiff competition to take the AeroPress NZ Brewers Cup title. Guy has been a NZ Barista Guild member for almost a year. He’s a Level One Certified Barista and he hails from Nelson where he works at his own cafe, Cafe on Oxford.
Find out more about Guy here
What is your earliest coffee related experience?
My earliest thing I can always remember is when my older brother started drinking and brewing plunger coffee. I didn’t even enjoy it but id make myself drink just because he was
When / why did you first get working in coffee?
I actually trained as a photographer but someone I worked for after training ran out of work so I had to find a job and ended up in a café in Christchurch that was in about 2005 I think.
What led you to becoming a barista?
Im someone who always wants to be learning new things and being motivated to grow so once I had learnt the other areas in the café I HAD to learn coffee from there I was hooked!
What is the best part of your job?
The best part is a hard question there’s so much. Overall being on a machine on a busy day is the best part I love making coffee and never get bored of it. Also right now in my café im loving having somewhere that’s becoming community not just all unknown people drinking and going their separate ways but meeting each other its satisfying to see something develop like that. Aside from that I have a really fun team to work with so love having a good laugh at each others expense!
Talk us through a typical work day
I open most days so generally start at 7am, earlier if we have a busier day ahead with any catering etc. I dial in my grinder etc and season our machine. We’re running a 3 group La Marzoccco Strada MP. Then its coffees for me and whoevers opening with me. From there we just get ready for a busy day were a 40seat café usually running about 200-300 coffees a day and on week days it’s pretty structured with a 10am and 12/1pm rush then Im either out of there at around 2.30pm or I’m closing at 4pm
What are your roles outside of making coffee?
Being the owner there’s also a lot to do in the background so that keeps me busy. Aside from running the place overall I also focus on front of house a keeping us up with the play with new brew methods or happenings in coffee and research etc.
What is your favourite brew method and/or coffee origin and why?
I love V60 but since trying new things with the Brewers Cup I’m loving the French Press, if you can get the right coffee and method going for it it is incredible! Origins right now I cant go past anything Geisha especially my competition origin the Don Pepe Estate Panama Geisha – the best coffee I’ve tasted to date
Tulip or rosetta?
Always been rosetta from way back keeping it real
What would be your dream ‘coffee experience’?
Definitely some travel to origin to increase my experience with processes etc at such an early stage of where coffee comes from
Do you have a ‘coffee crush’ (person you most respect in the business)?
It would have to be Nolan at Proud Mary right now Im so jealous seeing his travel pics at all the origins around the world!