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?
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?
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.