Barista of the Week… Alex Paterson

Barista of the Week… Alex Paterson, owner and barista at Milkwood Cafe, 120 Nicholson Street, East Brunswick.

The Coffee Guide (TCG): If you weren’t a barista what would you be?

Alex: I wish I knew!

TCG: How do you have your coffee at home? How do you make it and how do you take it?

Alex: Stovetop espresso. Strong, rich and full of flavour. It’s nice to heat the milk up as well. It makes the whole experience very comforting

TCG: What’s the best thing about your job- the one thing that you really love aside from the coffee?

Alex: The contact with a large array of people. Some really excellent, and some so terrible, uptight and clueless that it is shocking. It’s quite and education.

TCG: What is your favourite music? (For work or for play).

Alex: I think it is important to love all types of music. Except for that auto-tune pop crap they play on commercial radio.

TCG: What’s your favourite food?

Alex: Strawberries. I can’t tell you why but I’m obsessed. They don’t even need to be flavoursome.

TCG: Tell us what your first coffee experience was.

Alex: I didn’t start drinking coffee until I was 18. I had just left home and gone to Paris. I sat down with my friends and ordered a cappuccino. I thought it was the adult thing to do.

TCG: If you’re not drinking coffee, what is your drink of choice?

Alex: Mineral water. Somehow it tastes nicer than regular water.

TCG: What made you become a barista?

Alex: Poverty stricken student.

TCG: Do people often try and chat you up at work?

Alex: Not often, but it does happen. I’ve never taken up an offer though.

TCG: What food do you think is the best compliment to a really great coffee?

Alex: Some type of delicious cake. With cinnamon or an excellent quality cocoa. Coffee has sweet, chocolate, fruity or savoury notes. Cake goes well with all these things.

TCG: Does your coffee style (or how you drink it) say something about you?

Alex: Extra hot, weak, skinny decaf latte!

TCG: Where do all the old baristas go?
Alex: Home.

TCG: Where has your coffee making taken you?

Alex: Mostly just East Brunswick/Collingwood.

TCG: What has been your favourite moment as a barista? Is there one story that only happened to you because you are a barista?

Alex: Blind folded coffee making competitions. Messy but thrilling!

TCG: What is the most exciting thing happening in coffee right now for you?

Alex: Just in general the high standards that cafe’s are now aiming for. It’s no longer that difficult to seek out a fine coffee. There are some great coffee roasters, excellent baristas and passionate coffee drinkers on every corner.

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?

Alex: Reykjavik, Iceland. Tiny place, excellent coffee. Beautiful looking people. I would sit in a cafe and people-watch and sip slowly of a strong, soy, flat white.

TCG: If you could make coffee for one other person of your choice (anyone- past or present), who would it be?

Alex: Bjork. Because I love her but I know that if I met her I wouldn’t know what to say. At least I could make her a delicious coffee and be in her presence.

TCG: As a barista, what’s your next big plan?

Alex: Having two days off a week is my next big plan.

TCG: Where is your favourite place to hang out in Melbourne?

Alex: At home. My dog lives there and she’s awesome. Witty, beautiful and completely unpretentious.

TCG: What is your guilty pleasure?

Alex: Chocolate.

TCG: What’s your favourite time of the year?

Alex: Spring. Smells good.

TCG: What are you reading right now?

Alex: Patty Smith. Just Kids.

TCG: What is your favourite thing to do in Spring?

Alex: Bicycle rides.

TCG: What is your favourite movie of all time?

Alex: The Royal Tenenbaums.

TCG: Where did you grow up? And what is your fondest childhood memory?

Alex: Tasmania. In the middle of nowhere. I have four siblings and we could do whatever we wanted. Trampoline stunts were always a stand out.

TCG: Do you have any pets?

Alex: I have a dog called Grace and a lazy, lazy cat called Louie. Sometimes I catch them making out and that is not a lie.

TCG: What did you do on your last day off?

Alex: Sat in the sun. Went for a ride with my sister to buy some plants.

TCG: In a good cup of coffee, how much of it is due to the barista and how much is due to the beans?

Alex: Largely the barista, but the beans definitely play an important role.

TCG: Is decaf a dirty word?

Alex: No, it’s not as rude as some words. I guess caffeine isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

TCG: Is specialty tea the new cappuccino?

Alex: I don’t think so.

TCG: What is your favourite kind of tea?

Alex: To be honest, I don’t really drink tea. I love the idea of it, but the reality of it is that it is left to go cold and be forgotten about.

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