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H

ead coffee roaster and barista for East

Brisbane-based Mantle & Moon, Jolie

Beckett is one of 20 baristas selected

from around the world to take part in the Coffee

Masters competition in London in April. She

reveals what makes a good cup of coffee ...

How many coffees do you drink a day?

I almost never finish a coffee, so I sip quite a few

just to try them. It adds up to a few a day; but

not as many as people might think. I am still

amazed at how many my friends will have in

a day. Essentially for me coffee is all about the

taste, not so much about the buzz.

What’s your favourite coffee and how do

you take it?

It’s hard to choose, but the style I like to make

for myself is filter, usually aeropress, and I prefer

either African or Indonesian origins. Filter is

always lighter roasted to bring out the flavour

of the bean. I don’t drink milk myself so coffee

is always black for me. I only have milk to

understand what the customer is experiencing

when drinking my coffee.

How many awards have you won?

With Mantle & Moon we’ve collected four

Golden Bean awards (over two years).

How are you preparing for London?

I am cupping everyday in order to fine-tune

my palate. Sometimes I am focussing on taste

descriptors, sometimes mouth-feel/body, the

type of acidity in the coffee, different degrees

of roast etc. I also try coffee by other roasters

almost daily to understand what other roasters

are doing.

In one challenge in London you have to

make 10 drinks in nine minutes…

It is achievable. It is a very practical way to test

someone’s skills as a barista because it will be

about work flow and skill in a situation that is

representative of what baristas do. The selection

will be espresso based, so cappuccino, latte, long

black and so on.

You have been a judge – how does

Brisbane stack up against other cities?

Brisbane stacks up very well against other cities.

Last year’s overall Golden Bean winner is based

on the Gold Coast and has a devoted following

in Brisbane, so we have a really strong base of

experience. Internationally Australia is very

competitive, with the top three finishers in most

of the World Barista Championships and high

rankings in other competitions.

What’s the perfect accompaniment

to coffee?

More coffee – I am a bit of a purist because I

usually don’t want something else to override

what I am tasting. Otherwise, definitely

something sweet and full of fat.

What’s the connoisseur’s way to

drink coffee?

If you are really interested in tasting the

characteristics of the bean, then it would be

without milk or sugar, whether that is espresso

or filter. I honestly believe that if people were

drinking really good beans, well roasted and

made with skill and care, they would be able

to appreciate coffee without milk. I think milk

is a habit that has developed because coffee

used to taste pretty harsh, and milk covers the

nasty flavours of cheap beans roasted close to

charcoal. It’s not so much that I think everyone

should drink black coffee all of the time, I just

encourage people to try it sometimes.

What ruins a good cup of coffee?

Having to rush it.

Do your friends always ask you to make

them a cup of coffee when they visit you

at home?

I always offer because making coffee for other

people is a pleasure for me, not a chore at all.

Artistry

in food

There’s no doubt our fascination with food

has never been greater and what we eat, no

matter how mundane, has become a topic

of public record, thanks to a hyperactive

social media.

The good news is that there is also

a swing back to the craftsmanship of

food, locally and ethically produced (see

opposite page) and hand-made as much

as possible. Melinda Gagen, exhibitions

officer at artisan gallery, Fortitude Valley,

has had the bright idea to explore the

concept of food as craft in a show that’s

more pop-up market than exhibition from

25 April to 18 July.

Aptly called

Marketplace

it pairs food

producers with craftmakers, highlighting

creative connections. For example, honey

harvested from city rooftops shares a

‘stall’ with beeswax lanterns and hand-

made glass spoons; herbs from local

growers are displayed in ‘pots’ made

from recycled washing machine materials;

native bush foods sit alongside baskets by

Quandamooka weaver Sonja Carmichael

(

pictured above

).

Gagen found no shortage of talent to be

part of

Marketplace

, a good indication that

craftsmanship is indeed returning to food

production. The biggest challenge was

capping the number of artisans to fit the

gallery’s space.

Marketplace

also exhibits a

conscience by drawing attention to global

food issues including waste, local versus

supermarket, growth and reuse. It turns

a documentary style lens on traditional

food making techniques that are enjoying a

resurgence and a public program of events

is planned to give visitors a chance to meet

the makers.

Coffee confidential

BNE March/April 2015 |

29

“I am a bit of a purist

because I usually don’t

want something else

to override what I

am tasting”

Jolie Beckett