Can we adopt you?

In this feature of ‘Our People’, we look to those international coffee friends who have visited us and who we would love to adopt to New Zealand. No promises of a passport to them though!

We throw back to the time when our borders were fully open, and overseas coffee experiences were a given. We would love them to come back when the borders open up. The next best thing is quizzing them and learning more about our overseas coffee friends!

Aga Rojewska

Does that mean I will get a New Zealand passport and could visit more often???

Company: That is tricky … I’m my own company, but at the same time work for others … which makes me like “free electron in coffee”


What where you in a previous life? – Panda Bear

What is your current role now? – serious one: Head of Coffee Quality, not serious: Worst Barista Champion.

How did you get into the job you doing now? As always: accident, somebody thought that office job is good for person wearing sneakers and hoodies.

When did you visit NZ? End of 2019 – almost last possible moment.

What was one thing that surprised you about our coffee industry? That most of people in NZ know how to makes better coffee than me.

What feels important to you in coffee? Balance (not only in a cup).

Person who inspires you most in coffee: Very difficult to say … I guess that one person that makes me rethink coffee is James Hoffmann – but I would not call it inspiration.

How are you brewing at home? I don’t.

What do you do for fun? Netflix, PS4, peanut butter jar.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing coffee? What I would like: Playing football (soccer) What most probably I would: Fill in Excel sheets in a corporate company.

What are your biggest challenges that you face, especially after 2020? Keep my weight.

What changes do you want to see in the future of coffee? Some people take it less serious.

What’s next for you, both small and big? Big: going back to doing what I enjoy the most in coffee Small: sours with friends (not at home)

Pineapple lumps or Sour feijoa’s? Never tried any of those … so both

Instagram: @agarojewska

Julie Housh

Thank you again for thinking of me, let me know when I can book my ticket and move all my belongings… 😊

Specialty Coffee Association


What where you in a previous life? The thing that brought me to New Zealand in my previous life was World Coffee Events, where I held the role of Information and Programs Coordinator. And on the other side of things, I feel like I might’ve been a goldfish in a previous life. 😉

What is your current role now? Knowledge Development Manager in the Sustainability and Knowledge Development Department at the Specialty Coffee Association.

How did you get into the job you doing now? After supporting SCA staff and volunteers working on the Price Crisis Response Initiative in 2019, it was a natural move into the role of Knowledge Development Manager as a way to leverage my skills in education and training, event planning, as well as my love for organization and detail, all while being able to learn more about and support sustainability in specialty coffee.

When did you visit NZ? I visited NZ in April 2011 and November 2012. (Had to dig into the email archives to track down that detail!) Both trips centered in Wellington, and I very much look forward to seeing more of the country one day.

What was one thing that surprised you about our coffee industry? Can’t narrow it down to just one! Feel free to pick one if you must, but here are three: 1)New Zealand coffee culture is espresso-oriented. Coming from the US, I expected wider availability of filter coffee. 2)Most coffee shops served some sort of proper lunch/breakfast menu, which was a nice departure from all-pastry options in the US at the time. 3)Not surprising per se but I love the sense of community I felt (and continue to feel) in the NZ coffee industry.

What feels important to you in coffee? It feels important to me that value be better distributed through the coffee value chain, both to ensure the livelihoods of farmers, farmworkers, and baristas as well as to exist in a future where diverse coffees from diverse origins can continue to be enjoyed by many coffee drinkers worldwide.

Person who inspires you most in coffee: I can’t answer this! Truly, when I think of people who inspire me in coffee the list starts to feel like movie end-credits. I am so fortunate to have met so many people in coffee and it’s the thing that keeps me going in this industry – the people I’ve met and those I’ve yet to meet. It feels so cliché to say, but coffee people, the plural, continue to inspire me.

How are you brewing at home? “Kalitavorm” – A Kalita Wave #155 under the spout of a Technivorm Cup-One brewer.

What do you do for fun? What, is coffee not supposed to be fun? Beyond coffee, I do fun things like reading, crafting (paper mache, ceramics, painting, embroidery, really, the crafting gamut!), and snacking. Yes, snacking – like eating food snacking.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing coffee? Librarian, High School debate coach, or, if I’d never found coffee at all, political lobbyist, think tank denizen, or lawyer.

What are your biggest challenges that you face, especially after 2020? I am challenged in the best possible way to continue pursuing better value distribution in the coffee value chain. Also, ultimately to know when to get out of the way – my own way or the way of others.

What changes do you want to see in the future of coffee? Better! Value! Distribution! I sound like a broken record, and this might even come off as a bit glib, but it’s truly a driver for me. Value? Like money? Sure, like, money, but also more and better representation (in board rooms, on stages, on front pages). Better business models. Better supported coffee institutions.

What’s next for you, both small and big? Small – Teaching the Coffee Sustainability Program Foundations course to all my SCA colleagues. Big – Making good on the things that feel important to me (to refer to the previous questions/answers!).

Pineapple lumps or Sour feijoas? Pineapple lumps all day.

Instagram: @juliefromcoffee

Stephen Leighton

3FE Coffee Ireland

Country: Ha !! Im a Brit, living in Sweden working on Ireland, go figure.

What where you in a previous life? A god, I’ve been a nurse, a prison officer, company founder and a director of coffee..,

What is your current role now? Green Buyer

How did you get into the job you doing now? Begged Colin Harmon for a job.

When did you visit NZ?  2011 first and best again in 2018/19/20.

What was one thing that surprised you about our coffee industry? The diversity of small operators and ones who think they are larger, but in a small market are not so big. The green quality and lack of diversity was behind on my first visit, but on subsequent visits you could see the market was being pushed by smaller quality operators and a big improvement.

What feels important to you in coffee? Honesty, transparency and doing the right thing.

Person who inspires you most in coffee: Tom Owen at Sweet Maria’s always makes me go gooey at he knees for what a good job he has done of educating the world.

How are you brewing at home? Chemex 99% of the time, if its good enough for James Bond its good enough for me.

What do you do for fun? Fun in 2020 was limited, but I love my Football and I make streams on Twitch about Pokemon go because I am a child.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing coffee? Homeless and living in a ditch,

What are your biggest challenges that you face, especially after 2020? Re inventing myself, finding a new job, having to cut back on my lifestyle and dealing with living in separate countries to my partner. Luckily 2021 is working out a hell of a lot better with a baby on the way, the perfect job and in the process of moving to Sweden.

What changes do you want to see in the future of coffee? More honesty with our messaging, more transparency with not only consumers but with producers and a clearing of the decks of those who are just in it for the money and not the coffee.

What’s next for you, both small and big? Getting back on that Origin Travel hamster wheel, being a dad again with a 24 year gap, and talking Colin Harmon in to giving me a pay rise.

Pineapple lumps or Sour feijoas? Errrr Pineapple lumps of course.

Instagram: @MrStephenLeighton

Gwilym Davies

The Naughty Dog Coffee

Czech Republic

Current Role: Trainer for our Coffee Courses and Roaster.

What where you in a previous life? I have had many previous lives, in the last one I was a World Barista Champion travelling the world spreading the propaganda of Specialty coffee. Shortly before that one I was living on a canal boat travelling the UK water systems and working on mildly legitimate coffee carts. The lives previous to that are best left in the past.

What is your current role now? I do trainings for the public when Covid restrictions allow and roast coffee on our 15kg.

How did you get into the job you doing now? I married the boss.

I met Petra Vesela in Greece when we were both judging at the national barista championship, there were threats made against the judges and, for our own safety, we were locked in the judges room where the spark of a relationship began over a bottle of discarded Jamesons Whiskey.

A week later I visited Petra at her training centre near Prague and within 24 hours I had rang Jeremy my partner at Prufrock Coffee in London to tell him I was not leaving Prague and could we get a manager, Jeremy took the news in his stride and wished me luck. I really should have told Petra but everything worked out okay and she put me to work taking courses to pay for my consumption of potatoes and beer.

The roasting company started as a project to keep me amused but when the training courses had to stop due to Covid restrictions we had more time to put into the roasting and luckily demand started to increase.

When did you visit NZ? I was there for a year around 1997/8. I spent a month travelling around the South Island but other than that most of my time was spent working in Auckland living a regular life.

What was one thing that surprised you about our coffee industry?I worked on Ponsonby Road and later in Kingsland, it was amazing back then, I was completely blown away by what seemed to be a well established vibrant cafe culture reliant on locally roasted coffee. I had seen nothing like it before and I enjoyed every minute of it.

I grew up in a macho sports culture and the Auckland cafe scene showed me a more creative, diverse and thoughtful world. The coffee had a growing origin not just a brand, the food was delicious but the people and the music were the thing I loved most.

The diverse customer base of where I worked was refreshing and every cafe had its own vibe: the late night post pub cafe on Ponsonby Road, the post party early morning cafes on the K road, going to book talks or just hanging out with the vintage scooter kids at the cafe in the Arcade.

What feels important to you in coffee? That we show it is possible to do business in a nice way where culture is enriched and people are treated respectfully.

Coffee has a terrible past built on slavery, colonisation and environmental destruction if this industry can change then we can be an example to others. The specialty coffee industry is full of lovely people with creative minds and has consumers who love the product we sell, we should do good things with these resources.

Person who inspires you most in coffee:Other than songwriters, I have never knowingly had a mentor to help guide me but looking back on my career it was Chris Priestley from Atomic coffee/ 121 Ponsonby Road that gave me the opportunity to fall in love with coffee and cafes and gave me the strength to keep going in my early coffee career. Chris showed me that the social and cultural capital of being in the industry was rewarding and more important to me than climbing the career ladder. Chris also enriched my life by widening my music taste, giving me an enduring love of Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday.

Petra Vesela (Wife, World Coffee Judge, Boss, Barista Champion, coffee author)) continually inspires me with her knowledge and perspective of the coffee industry, coffee is my hobby as well as my work so I tend to get lost in the detail both mentally and emotionally. Petra keeps a more balanced approach and reminds me that people are the core of what we do. Petra is also a constant reminder to me that having knowledge in my brain is not that useful unless I can effectively pass on information to the students that is actually useful and relevant.

How are you brewing at home? I try different methods when ever they come my way but I always return come back to hand brewed paper filter methods, specifically the V60. I quickly learnt that the grinder is the most important part of my brewing set up so I have always invested in that and then used a cheap plastic V60 paper filter cone to brew with.

What do you do for fun? I left sport behind a long time ago and my fun outside of work is coffee, whether that is drinking it in cafes, experimenting with it or reading about it. The boundary between work and play has been a difficult one to navigate. Petra tried to solve this by rescuing a sausage dog, Mrs Jenny Brown, who comes with me everywhere and ensures I go for regular walks in the Bohemian forests.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing coffee? I nearly left coffee to become a cheese maker and the process still fascinates me but at this moment I would make chocolate, I reckon I could roast it better than most chocolate makers.

What are your biggest challenges that you face, especially after 2020?Time 🙁 . So many things to do but such little time in the day and energy in my body. Covid hit the Czech Republic hard, our carefully curated life that gave a good work life balance was blown apart so we had to learn new skills and remember old skills to survive all of which takes up time.

What changes do you want to see in the future of coffee? Specialty must reject the use of its identity by companies who have co-opted the movement to market their coffees and by competing on price they take us on a general retreat back to a coffee as a commodity without regards for the long term consequences for farmers and the environment. Specialty at its heart is a progressive movement, I am not in coffee to see it stall or go backwards

What’s next for you, both small and big? We have purchased an old house we we are currently reconstructing into a roastery with a focus on people being able to visit and stay. Growing a business large is not our sort of fun so we want to stay small but have a place we can invite people to share what we are doing.

Pineapple lumps or Sour feijoas? It was always Pineapple lumps but now they are not made in NZ the emotional experience has lessened a little but who can resist Sour Feijoas, they taste just like feijoas!!

Instagram: @gwilymbarista @the_naughtydog 

Dale Harris

OCRi (Hasbean Coffee Ozone Coffee Roasters)


What where you in a previous life? I studied archaeology, but career prospects in coffee were better 😉 I fell in love with coffee, and then with the people fighting to make and serve it better.

What is your current role now? NPD and Innovation for OCR, questioning what we do across our brands and looking at ways we can add sustainable value to how we buy, sell and brew coffee.

How did you get into the job you doing now? After stints with a chain, then as a machine tech trainer for a big commercial company I found a safe place in Hasbean where the coffee was better than I could get elsewhere, and I haven’t looked back – I’ve evolved and developed within the company as we’ve grown over the last 10 years, from barista/trainer to running our UK wholesale divisions – My current position let’s me support those teams and the wider company, helping us make the most of our sourcing and sales networks, and be part of leading positive, enduring change.

When did you visit NZ? Jan ‘19 – It had been a long ambition to see some of the places that had shaped some of my mentors and influenced the UK scene at a key stage of our development.

What was one thing that surprised you about our coffee industry? For a mature and competitive market I was excited how open everyone was – Popped by a couple of events and it was great to be with people from different companies working to make the industry inclusive, supportive and progressive.

What feels important to you in coffee? Baristas are important – We shape the narrative around coffee that customers experience and are able to influence a lot of their decisions, and ultimatlety where the market goes. I think its important that we spend at least as much time focussing on developing our soft skills (communication/hospitality) as we do playing with brewing techniques, and that a well served coffee can have more impact than a perfectly brewed one.

Person who inspires you most in coffee: I think Felipe Sardi, of La Palma, is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. The integrated nature of their farm, the biochar and compost systems, and an approach focussed on building a farm/mill model that drives quality and value that suits the needs of specialty and helps us think about how things could be done differently is really valuable.

How are you brewing at home? I pretty much exclusively drink filter at home, and 9 times out of 10 it’s from a small automated Behmor Brazen brewer that I can set brewing whilst I’m in the shower! With the right grind and water it does a better job than me every time.

What do you do for fun?I bake, I eat – I exercise a little, but mostly so I can bake and eat more.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing coffee? I’d be learning new things somewhere – Possibly learning pastry skills. I think I’d rather be learning than working, and on the best days coffee lets me do a bit of both!

What are your biggest challenges that you face, especially after 2020? In the UK we’re just beginning to see business recovery for hospitality following a long year of lockdowns. I think the biggest challenge we’ll have as an industry is not rushing back into old habits, with roasters fighting over different clients with cheap prices and deals, but instead working to find the right clients who align with our values and building long term relationships that help us drive forwards our partnerships at origin.

What changes do you want to see in the future of coffee? Third-wave coffee has exploded globally, but the actual impact on coffee producers income has been minimal, whilst the challenges they face through climate change has become increasingly more intense. The lack of resilience in the farming system means that better coffee is currently unsustainable. The average price paid/lb of coffee by a roaster matters much more than how much anyone spends on a micro-lot, so I want to see more roasters reporting this, and more customers understanding what it means. I want to see roasters paying and charging more, and succeeding so that when big players get involved in specialty this is what they copy, rather than painting their shop in moody colours or buying the latest espresso machine.

What’s next for you, both small and big? I’m currently working on some new coffee products, that can help us reach more customers with the coffees we source – some of these should make it to NZ, and whilst we’re starting small with them I hope they’ll end up big!

Pineapple lumps or Sour feijoas? Feijoas are the future.

Instagram: @acousticcoffee

Guido Bernardinelli

La Marzocco International


What were you in a previous life? In a previous life, I might have been a professional sailor. I have often thought of the synergy between the coordination of a sailing team, and our team here at La Marzocco.

We were lucky enough to be able to support INEOS Team UK in the America’s Cup this year through a sponsorship by our La Marzocco UK branch and with the help of La Marzocco New Zealand on the ground in Auckland. We had lots of friendly banter between colleagues as we collectively cheered for INEOS, Luna Rosa, and Team New Zealand.

What is your current role now? CEO of La Marzocco

How did you get into the job you doing now? The first time I visited the La Marzocco facility in Tuscany, it was actually with the intention to turn down a job offer. My colleague Lorenzo and were driving all the way from Milan to Florence, only out of professional courtesy to our fellow competitor.

Back then, we were both working for a much larger corporation in the coffee industry. My wife had just lost her job then. We had a new baby and a mortgage. I didn’t think I could go to such a small company with little more than 10 employees.

During the entire car journey there, Lorenzo and I were debating how to tell these wonderful people that we couldn’t make the move. As it turned out, the discussion never needed to happen because once we were in the old factory building with the light shining over the Tuscan hills through the windows; the stainless steel machines; Piero Bambi, the son of the founder, who was like a father figure and a mentor to us, and who spoke to us with such passion in his voice – you know the feeling when you walk into a place with a lot of history and a lot of heart, it’s like a love affair. On the entire drive back, we were debating how to tell our current company that we were leaving.

Eighteen years after that first visit to La Marzocco and after nearly 500 more colleagues joined the team, I became the CEO of this passionate and innovative company.

I joined La Marzocco with the vision of being a transformational leader. I believe that everything rises and falls on leadership, and it is not a hierarchy. Leadership is about inspiring others to be great. The leader is not the one who climbs the mountain solo, but the one who takes everybody to the top, gives a hug to everyone who gets there, and goes back walking at the pace of the slowest.

When did you visit NZ?  Well, I’m very fortunate to have visited New Zealand many times over the years. Sadly, last year’s visit was cancelled like so many things, due to the pandemic. So when the borders reopen and it is safe to travel again, I cannot wait to come back to catch up with our La Marzocco family in NZ.

What was one thing that surprised you about our coffee industry? The New Zealand industry is unique and such an important one for the global coffee industry, you have given the world ideas, knowledge, and new ways of delivering great everyday hospitality and coffee.

I guess the one thing that surprised me would be that despite being a mature espresso drinking market with fierce competition, I have always enjoyed and been surprised at just how delicious and important the high-quality food and drink served alongside the coffee menu. That and the sheer diversity of places that have espresso machines is amazing.

What feels important to you in coffee? People and community, the shared time, the togetherness away from doing business and competing, its these little moments, the carefree laughs, the sharing of food and drink, the connections that are fostered and built over time. It’s good coffee that brings both industry people and café customers together in ways that otherwise would perhaps never happen.

Person who inspires you most in coffee: I am inspired by the late Piero Bambi, the son and nephew of our company’s founders who was an engineer, designer, and master craftsman. He was my friend and mentor. His contributions to the world of espresso coffee enhanced the lives of so many and I am honoured to carry on that tradition.

I’m also inspired by my talented team of colleagues at La Marzocco around the globe, whose vision continues to propel us to new levels of discovery and innovation.

How are you brewing at home? On the Linea Mini

What do you do for fun? Fun and the pandemic have been hard this last year in Italy as our approach here could not have been more different to that of New Zealand’s.

But, I’d have to say that fun for me now is the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends and share food and wine together. I do, however, really love to sail in summer and ski in winter.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing coffee? My answer here is similar to the question about what I would be doing in a previous life….

I’d be sailing in the sailing industry – doing something I love.

What are your biggest challenges that you face, especially after 2020? At La Marzocco we saw our different markets experiencing different stages of the pandemic across the globe which was tough to watch but gave us perspective and great insights.

Our factory team has certainly been challenged to match our supply / output in a coordinated way with surging demand whilst juggling our supply chain and logistics globally. This is not easy, in fact, it is very complicated, and they have done a great job.

We are fortunate to have experienced strong demand and growth based on the good work the La Marzocco branches have done throughout 2020 and this now challenges us to ensure we can keep production at the same pace whilst operating safely for our people in our factory.

What changes do you want to see in the future of coffee? I’d like to see a focus on sustainability. As a society, we are realising that financial gain through abusing the planet is no good for humanity.

The future of quality coffee is facing an existential threat from entrenched business models designed to siphon wealth out of coffee-producing countries.  The lack of credible commitment by international businesses to reverse this approach continues to astound me. As a result, many coffee farmers are unable to invest in the quality of their products because they don’t know when they will get paid. This needs to change.

What’s next for you, both small and big? 2021 has already seen the release of the new  GB5 X & S models which are now LM Pro App compatible giving the barista, technician, or site operators control over the machine and meaningful insights on coffee quality.

Crucially though, this further improves the reliability of our machines as performance can be monitored in real-time to deliver planned preventative maintenance before an issue arises. We are anticipating launching the new pro-app in mid-2021. That’s the big one.

As for smaller things, just as significant is that La Marzocco has started our inhouse coffee grinder division and the first grinder called the Swan is close to being finished for release, plus we have a La Marzocco designed Automatic Milk Steamer which creates beautifully steamed milk or alternative milk at the push button with a number of users defined pre-set temp / texture recipes.

But for me personally, I will continue to work with our people on the new innovations, exciting projects, and developments at La Marzocco …. Stay tuned, as LMNZ will have more to share soon.

Pineapple lumps or Sour feijoas? Pineapple lumps

Instagram: @lamarzocco

Michaela Gerard

Veneziano Coffee Roasters


What where you in a previous life? Coffee trainer

What is your current role now?  QLD State Manager

How did you get into the job you doing now? I was employed at Veneziano as the QLD trainer but after 6 months I was asked to move into the role I am currently in and lead the team in QLD.

When did you visit NZ? It’s been way too long, it disgraceful actually, 2005, I’m old.

What was one thing that surprised you about our coffee industry? At the time what I noticed the most was how cool the design and décor was of all the cafes in Auckland and Queenstown. Brisbane was a little behind at that stage so it was quite an eye opening. I wasn’t as big of a pain in the ass back then when it came to coffee so as long it had no broken crema on my flat white I was generally happy wherever I went.

What feels important to you in coffee? I love the community that coffee generates whether it is just with your café customers, wholesale customers, coffee comps, local events, world events, and origin trips. We all share this love for this drink and It breaks down walls, brings people together across the world and that is something really special.

Person who inspires you most in coffee: On a state level I would have to say my trainer Jia brooks, his passion and drive to learn and teach and help people grow is awesome to watch.

On a world level, I would have to say that I absolutely love watching James Hoffmann, he is so funny, has a no nonsense approach to coffee and is non apologetic when he disagrees with some of the coffee fluff out there which I’m sure riles up a lot of coffee geeks across the world. Its all about the quality in the cup for both Jia and James and making it as simple as possible to achieve this no matter who you are which I love.

How are you brewing at home?  V60 or Clever dripper when I’m time poor.

What do you do for fun?  Drink wine, eat great food, Pilates, yoga, hangs with friends, beach trip , buying more plants for my unit😊

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing coffee? Giving it a second crack at owning my own café, now that I’m older and wiser.

What are your biggest challenges that you face, especially after 2020?  Not seeing my coffee family enough across Australia and across the world.

What changes do you want to see in the future of coffee?  That cafes start charging more for coffee and that the end consumers are educated enough to not start a national riot over it. This requires a lot more education for the general public around coffee sourcing supply and production, from farm to cup. No major price rise in 10 years is just craazzzzy.

What’s next for you, both small and big?  Having a week off in Coffs Harbour with my oldest friends from school and renovating our roastery, training room and café at Veneziano in Brisbane in June/July, I’m so excited !!!!

Pineapple lumps or Sour feijoas?  Pineapple lumps all the way

Instagram: @mickey_gerard

Oli Bradshaw

Mahlkönig / HEMRO Group

United Kingdom 

What were you in a previous life? From 19 I worked in the music industry as a sales manager selling mainly drum and bass to record stores. When digital threatened the vinyl industry I opted out and that’s when I started my coffee career.

What is your current role now? Social Media Manager for the HEMRO Group

How did you get into the job you do now? Partly through building relationships and a bit of luck, I guess. I spent many years doing the sales and then marketing for the UK distributor. When I did a good job there, one thing led to another and here we are.

When did you visit NZ? I came when I was 13 for Christmas with my parents visiting friends. I don’t remember exactly where we visited but I remember the sand was black and it was very pretty. Oh yeah and it rained a lot, it was a bit like being at home 🙂

What was one thing that surprised you about our coffee industry? Sorry I was too young to indulge myself back then but the first proper coffee shop I ever visited (and probably the first in the UK) back in 2006 was started by a New Zealand man called Cam McClure it was called Flat White. So in my mind, you guys are the OG’s

What feels important to you in coffee? The people. I’ve never worked in any other profession with such a tight-knit group of people. I can’t imagine the photocopy industry has the same vibe for example

Person who inspires you most in coffee: James Hoffmann, I mean he probably is for a lot of people but being my old boss we chat quite a bit about YouTube. He made me start my own that I need to work on more regularly.

How are you brewing at home? I brewed with the Moccamaster religiously for the past four years but recently I’m trying the Sage brewer just for a change. Plus is has a flask (that is a pain to clean) but keeps my brew hot at least.

What do you do for fun? These days family walks, cooking & baking bread.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing coffee? Probably something sticking with food. Maybe events… I enjoy planning events.

What are your biggest challenges that you face, especially after 2020? Getting back to travel. I want to get out and create new videos and pictures for work but that future seems far far away right now.

What changes do you want to see in the future of coffee? Changes like right now? Coffee events where we can all get together again ✨ A man can dream right?

What’s next for you, both small and big? Well we just had a new baby and we are in the process of moving town so things are petty crazy here right now. Also gone fully vegetarian so just trying to stay healthy and positive ✌️

Pineapple lumps or Sour feijoas? I had to google this because I have no idea. I’m not a sweet tooth so I’ll just take a batch filter to go please 😉

Instagram: @olibradshaw @monsieur_claude

Estelle Bright

La Marzocco 


What where you in a previous life? Trained to be an interior design, fell into coffee and never looked back.

What is your current role now? After Sales Manager – La Marzocco UK and Ireland ( all things technical )

How did you get into the job you doing now? Started as Espresso Ambassador in 2014 and was lucky enough to fall into the technical side of the business.

When did you visit NZ? 2016 and can’t wait to be allowed back in.

What was one thing that surprised you about our coffee industry? How connected it was, I think I was pretty lucky to have already met and built friendships with so many people from NZ at world coffee comps and also people living in the UK and moving back. Felt so welcome and part of the scene.

What feels important to you in coffee? People and Passion. The industry would not be as vibrant as it is if we didn’t welcome people and take them under our wings and show them passion, that they can nurture and grow into humble coffee professionals.

Person who inspires you most in coffee: Too many to mention. But definitely at the top of my list, Jessica Macdonald.

How are you brewing at home? Moccamaster and Linea mini.

What do you do for fun? currently, hang out with my cats and draw people’s pets.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing coffee? most probably design of some description.

What are your biggest challenges that you face, especially after 2020? Getting back to some kind of normal, it’s been a tough year and half…..

What changes do you want to see in the future of coffee? Inclusion, Love and respect.

What’s next for you, both small and big? Small things – getting back out in the world and connecting with friends, Big – the what seems scary the world of Events that I once loved!

Pineapple lumps or Sour feijoas? Pineapple lumps without a doubt

Instagram: @coffee_mistress

James McCarthy

Driftaway Coffee

United States

What where you in a previous life? Hydrangea flower! 😀

What is your current role now? Coffee educator

How did you get into the job you doing now? I got laid off bc of COVID and asked companies who were currently roasting if they needed any help. Suyog and Anu got back to me and we had some great conversations!

When did you visit NZ? Spring of 2013 – every coffee person that I met was incredibly lovely and generous with their time, their houses (and their pizza, Emma! 😜). Couldn’t have asked for a better trip.

What was one thing that surprised you about our coffee industry? Espresso was so much more ingrained in the culture

What feels important to you in coffee? Equity. Our industry is steeped in the past and current effects of violent colonialism and I’m interested in projects that center justice over charity.

Person who inspires you most in coffee: Jess Hobbs

How are you brewing at home? Chemex!

What do you do for fun? Read and hang out with my partner and our dogs

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing coffee? Wow, I can’t imagine – I’ve been doing coffee for almost 18 years! Probably teaching.

What are your biggest challenges that you face, especially after 2020?Honestly, not getting so down about the state of things that I lose momentum.

What changes do you want to see in the future of coffee? Similar to what I said above about what feels important to me, I’d like to see fewer white people in positions of social or economic privilege. I’d also like to see coffee prices not have to be solely based on quality in order for farmers to make a living wage.

What’s next for you, both small and big? Well, I’ve already been to Dollywood, so…It’s hard to make big plans, with COVID and all, but I definitely want to travel outside of the US more (I’d love to go back to NZ!).

Pineapple lumps or Sour feijoas? gonna say sour feijoas even though I’ve never had them because I want to manifest some in my life!

Instagram: @mccarth88

Amy Ball

Specialty Coffee Association 

Country: USA

What were you in a previous life?: I haven’t done any past life regressions, but I’m confident that I have incarnated as a diprotodon back in the Pleistocene epoch. There’s just no way I haven’t been a giant marsupial at some point in my life.

What is your current role now? Community Events Officer

How did you get into the job you do now? In June of 2012, I got a job as a 3-month contractor for World Coffee Events (WCE). I was meant to help them get their Judge Certification & World Competitions Educations program updated. At that time in my life, I had left my job as a District Manager at Starbucks and was taking a hiatus from corporate life. I spent a year doing all kinds of creative projects–I wrote and produced a film; I finished the first draft of an Emerging Adult fiction novel, and I had three different part-time jobs. The gig at WCE was supposed to end in August 2012. But they never let me go. And I was ok with that!

When did you visit NZ? In 2010, I took a 6-month sabbatical from work to backpack around the world. I started my trip in New Zealand and explored both North and South island. After a bouldering trip to the Castle Hill Basin, I accidentally left one of my favorite rock climbing shoes in a rental crash pad. Although I only spent 3 weeks there, it makes me happy to think that my shoe never left NZ. It’s a wonderful place.

What was one thing that surprised you about our coffee industry? I am continually pleasantly surprised by how much people care about each other (and our environment) in this community.

What feels important to you in coffee? Environmental impact, and how to ensure that producers are able to continue growing coffee.

The person who inspires you most in coffee: I’m most inspired by collaborative efforts, not individuals. What we can achieve together is often way messier and more difficult, and I find stories of collaboration and group problem-solving more inspiring than any one person would be on their own. For example, the sheer amount of volunteer hours that it takes for any given World Championship to happen is astounding and inspiring to me. Or the work that happens on any Rules & Regulations call where people from around the world are tacking a problem from their various perspectives, and trying to hear and understand other perspectives–that’s inspiring! However, if you think that’s dodging the question, you can say that I find your countryman Matt Graylee fairly inspiring–mostly because he uses his head to try to tackle problems bigger than himself. And if you think I’m being a suck-up by picking a New Zealander, then please consider Isabela Raposeiras my pick. Because she’s an iconoclast. But really, I just don’t know how to answer this question. I am inspired by good people doing hard things, wherever that happens.

How are you brewing at home? If it’s just me, I’m typically brewing on a Clever dripper. If my partner is home, we are using a Bonavita coffee machine with a thermal carafe to keep that coffee piping hot! I always make one cup too many and am left with a nearly full cup on my desk at the end of the day.

What do you do for fun? I used to hike, surf, rock climb, read books and write. However, I just had a baby in March. These days, I nap for fun.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing coffee? I would be writing fiction novels.

What are the biggest challenges that you face, especially after 2020? Competition logistics (and any in-person international event) are going to be very challenging, post pandemic. We are keeping our eyes on changing travel restrictions and how our Competition Bodies are able to organize their national championships. We are looking forward to convening again in person–and we may have quite a lot of competitors once everyone is able to travel!

What changes do you want to see in the future of coffee? I want to see more support for environmentally sound practices and continued focus on producers and how to ensure their well being.

What’s next for you, both small and big? I am really hoping for an uninterupted night of sleep. If my 4-month-old can figure out how to put together 8-10 hours of consecutive sleep, then I will be able to feel like a real human again and give you a better answer to this question.

Pineapple lumps or Sour feijoas? Sour feijoas. Because that flavor is one-in-a-million. You’ll never forget it.

Instagram: @thechickenmoon