Barista of the Week… Vince Rabone, owner and barista
at Puck Specialty Coffee, 87 Palmerston Cres, South Melbourne
The Coffee Guide (TCG): What coffee do you use at work?
Vince: We currently run two house blends, one we call ‘morning’ blend and one ‘afternoon’ blend. We also run a single origin, which we change up weekly. All our coffee is provided by Proud Mary.
TCG: If you weren’t a barista what would you be?
Vince: completely off the beaten track from coffee, but ever since I was a boy I wanted to be a Fireman.
TCG: How do you have your coffee at home? How do you make it and how do you take it?
Vince: To be completely honest I don’t drink coffee at home and if I take a day off I try to separate myself from drinking it all together, unless I visit one of my favorite local cafes. It makes that next one I have once back at work all the more tasty.
TCG: What’s the best thing about your job- the one thing that you really love aside from the coffee?
Vince: My passion is coffee and pulling the best shots I consistently can, no matter how busy it is. So at times it’s very hard for me to look past the coffee, but now as a business owner I am loving the interaction of getting to know all our customers as well as the challenge of getting better and better at running the café everyday.
TCG: What is your favourite music? (For work or for play).
Vince: Fat Freddy’s Drop of course.
TCG: What’s your favourite food?
Vince: My number one favourite food that I can never go past on a menu has to be lamb shanks. When cooked right, the texture and the way it breaks up in your mouth can’t be beat for me.
TCG: Tell us what your best (or first) coffee experience was.
Vince: My best coffee experience to date would have to be working alongside Nolan Hirte at Proud Mary and learning the real art of shot extraction and coming to the real understanding of why we do what we do to extract the best flavours from the bean.
TCG: If you’re not drinking coffee, what is your drink of choice?
Vince: If I am not drinking coffee I am consistently drinking water. It is my second favourite drink apart from the occasional bourbon afterhours.
TCG: What made you become a barista?
Vince: Moving to Melbourne from Wellington, New Zealand. It was just the one thing I wanted to pursue and have been lucky enough to work with some of Australia’s best baristas on the way.
TCG: What food do you think is the best compliment to a really great coffee?
Vince: Personally I think a great compliment for a coffee is a nice milk chocolate. Have you ever taken a nice bite of milk chocolate and followed it with a sip of your latter and just let it sit there and melt in your mouth? Amazing.
TCG: How many coffees would you make in the average day?
Vince: As Puck is only one month old we are currently averaging 220 coffees per day and climbing.
TCG: What’s the largest amount of coffees you have made in a day?
Vince: Previously in other cafes I have worked at coffees per day ranged from 500-800 coffees per day.
TCG: Does your coffee style (or how you drink it) say something about you?
Vince: I believe my coffee style says ‘passion’ and trying to get the best cup for every cup.
TCG: If you could pick one spot in the world to sit and have a coffee, where would it be and what coffee would you have?
Vince: If I could pick one spot in the world to have a coffee it has always been Italy, Not to compare their flavour of coffee to ours, but to experience their coffee and café culture which- I hear is extremely different to ours.
TCG: What is your favourite alternate brewing method?
Vince: My favourite alternate brewing method is again stepping away from coffee. I have developed a couple of ice tea brews, which I have on the menu at Puck. They include a peppermint ice tea with lime and a camomile ice tea with honey and lemon. I jump at the chance to brew for customers.