I began my interest in high quality, authentic flavourful craft produce in 1999 when I started to work for my Aunt in her pub, The Rising Sun, in Tipton, West Midlands. Penny had 9 different Real Ales on tap at all times and it came as no surprise to anyone when the Rising Sun won the Campaign for Real Ale Pub of the Year at the end of that year.
I continued my interest in Real Ale, remaining a CAMRA member for many years, and picking up other preferences along the way, whisky, cheese, sausages and coffee to name a few. My interest in Coffee led me to work for Starbucks in 2006.
I was utterly captivated by the fact that drinking Ethiopia Sidamo coffee with a Lemon and Poppy Seed muffin made both better. Extraordinary. I experimented with more and more combinations as time went by – Sumatra with Stilton and coriander; Colombia Narino Supremo with Caramel Shortbread. Before long I was a District Coffee Master – nominally responsible for making all the Starbucks staff in North-West England share my passion for coffee.
After a few jobs in the Coffee Industry, in which time I became a UK Barista Championship Technical Judge, I found myself at Union Hand-Roasted Coffee in early 2014. Here I had access to a panoply of exceptional coffees, directly traded, hand-roasted and exquisitely brewed. I met Graciano Cruz, a farmer from Panama, who is a one-man tornado of inspiration, passion and dedication. His coffee tells the story much better then I can, and Los Lajones Natural Caturra is still my favourite morning brew.
I entered the UK Coffee in Good Spirits Championship to see how I would do, to enhance my judging performance, and to show off Graciano’s coffee some more. I could not believe it when I won!
I competed in the World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship in Melbourne in May 2014 and finished 9th. It is my ambition to compete again in 2015 – watch this space!
Since May I have made coffee cocktails at trade shows, exhibitions, coffee events, work Christmas Parties and family celebrations. I have created this website as a record of what I do, and as a resource for anyone who is interested in coffee, good spirits, or (ideally) both!