What is your current occupation and employer?
Barista + more at MAME coffee in Zurich
List all the national and world coffee competitions you have competed in.
- World Barista Championship 2019 (7th)
- Swedish Barista Comp 2018, 2019 (1st)
- World Barista Championship 2018 (8th)
When and how did you decide to pursue a career in coffee?
I used to be an aircraft engineer, and after deciding to take a break from this one summer - I found a job as a barista and have never looked back! I love working with coffee and making people happy!
How did you first decide to compete in a coffee competition?
It seemed like an interesting thing to focus my attention and learning on something productive - and the Swedish Barista Championship was in my Swedish family’s home town, so it felt like fate!
After winning the Barista Championship in Sweden the past two years, you competed in Brewers Cup for Switzerland this year. Why did you decide to compete in a different competition under a different flag?
That’s right! I actually thought I would take a year off of barista comp, and help Matheiu with his routine, and I decided to just “do brewers” as a way of continuing to learn. I admit, that I wasn’t a very good brewer before, and it was very interesting to learn so many variables about filter coffee. In the years before, I wasn’t eligible to compete in Switzerland, as I hadn’t lived here long enough. That changed this year, and it’s obviously much simpler to compete at a venue 2 kilometers from your house, compared to almost 2000km in Sweden.
What was the difference in preparing for and competing in Brewers Cup compared to the Barista competition?
They are totally different competitions, it’s crazy. A critical component of brewers is the compulsory section, where Brewers are given a bag of unknown coffee, and must find the best brew possible and replicate it for 3 judges. This was a totally new thing for me, I had to track down random coffees (often not very good) and play with variables to learn the best way to brew them as possible, in a very short space of time to dial in.
The open service (main performance) aspect I trained different this year to last year. In 2019 I absolutely destroyed myself in the 2 weeks before while I was training. I was working full time, and then training every day until 1:00 am most nights to try and nail my performance. I decided never to train this way again. So this time I just did 2 or 3 hours a day, most days, for 2 months or so before the competition. I found I was much more focused, and effective at learning my pouring and speech.
What’s the best piece of coffee-related advice you’ve received?
“Make it taste good”
Do you think your background in aerospace engineering has helped you in any way with your work in coffee?
Definitely! The same principles of troubleshooting I used on aircraft apply to coffee! Eg: It doesn’t taste how I want it to, working backwards to find which part of my method is the problem and fixing it! I’m also super passionate and love getting my hands dirty to fix machines and grinders!
What are the most valuable things you have learned from training with Emi and Matthieu?
Their added years of experience in competition is invaluable. Mathieu and I think very similarly which is great to bounce ideas off, and Emi looks at things another way which is super important to see things we overlook!
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, you started a project called the Quarantine Coffee Club. What was the inspiration for launching it, how does it work, and what do you hope people will get from it?
The QCC came from an idea that Cath (a Barista at MAME), who wanted to do something on Instagram to make a community that could unite through this divisive time. We selected 22 baristas, from 19 countries worldwide, one from each continent at least, with the goal of sharing what we were doing, how we were (honestly) brewing at home, and trying to form a community together. It absolutely exploded on Instagram, and we’re just trying to share what we’re doing, what we think people would find interesting, in an approachable way. The support from the coffee community we’re getting is fantastic.
What is your go-to beverage to order at a café?
Baristas breakfast (Espresso + milky + filter)
What is the funniest or most memorable moment you have experienced behind the bar?
Probably Australia Day when I was in Switzerland. Imagine the middle of winter, around -4 outside, and behind the bar I was wearing flip flops, board shorts, tropical t-shirt and sunglasses the whole day!
What is your favorite brew method at home?
Definitely filter - normally v60
What is your favorite origin country, region or farm?
Depends on my mood… Always a fan of Colombian coffee from Huila, but always open to new tastes!
While you have represented multiple countries in coffee competitions, you are definitely a ‘global citizen’. How is coffee culture different in Sweden vs Switzerland and Australia?
It’s very clear to me the cultural differences of mainstream coffee culture - Australia is all about milk - Sweden is all about filter coffee - Switzerland is all about automatic machine long black coffees (Cafe creme). When it comes to Specialty though, the differences are less defined. Australia is by far the most progressive - it’s hard to find a bad coffee around Melbourne for example. Sweden has a taste preference towards highly acidic coffees (lighter roast). Switzerland seems to be somewhere in the middle for Specialty.
What is one specialty coffee trend you would like to see gain popularity this year?
Being nice to people. Realising that hospitality and service are the backbone of our industry, we can share information, instead of hoard it. I love the idea of everyone being approachable, and friendly, and form greater connections with guests and colleagues alike. That’s at least what I’m working on this year.
Outside of coffee, what do you do for fun?
Play sports, skiing, yoga, meditation, travelling… eating!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I really can’t see myself in five minutes, let alone five years! But in five years I hope to see the specialty coffee industry a lot more open and meeting people where they are at (less egos, more empathy).