Barista of the Week, Bill Colls, owner and barista at Coffee Darling, 2 Darling Street, South Yarra.
The Coffee Guide (TCG): If you weren’t a barista what would you be?
Bill: Fulltime Grandfather to my gorgeous 7 (2 boys 5 girls).
TCG: How do you have your coffee at home? How do you make it and how do you take it
Bill: Long black made on my stovetop atomic espresso maker
TCG: What’s the best thing about your job- the one thing that you really love aside from the coffee?
Bill: My customers and the daily contact that builds a coffee family. Also the fabulous staff who embrace what I do and have become lifelong friends.
TCG: What is your favourite music? (For work or for play).
Bill: Stan Getz Jazz instrumentals, Ella Fitzgerald, Julie London.
TCG: What’s your favourite food?
Bill: Breakfast of eggs on toast at coffee Darling.
TCG: Tell us what your best coffee experience was.
Bill: The first cup in the morning before the madness starts.
TCG: If you’re not drinking coffee, what is your drink of choice?
Bill: Coffee. Coffee only.
TCG: What made you become a barista?
Bill: My son Danny the founder of Cafe Racer introduced me to it and the love affair began.
TCG: Do people often try and chat you up at work? Have you ever taken the offer up?
Bill: All the time, but they are too gorgeous, too young and Faye my wife is always watching. I have never taken up an offer. Married 45 years and it only gets better.
TCG: What food do you think is the best compliment to a really great coffee?
Bill: My daughter Jane’s macarons.
TCG: How many coffees would you make in the average day?
Bill: Between 300 and 400.
TCG: What’s the largest amount of coffees you have made in a day?
Bill: 880 coffees in one day.
TCG: Does your coffee style (or how you drink it) say something about you?
Bill: If I do something, I do it the best I can every time. You make coffee with your hands, your mind and most importantly your heart, using the best quality product available.
TCG: Where do all the old baristas go?
Bill: Back to the handles everyday.
TCG: Where has your coffee making taken you?
Bill: To a career that has no age limits, to a customer base that shares their life journeys and stories with me and to an opportunity to make a difference to everyone’s day.
TCG: What has been your favourite moment as a barista? Is there one story that only happened to you because you are a barista?
Bill: The sweet moment when Coffee Darling is packed, the customers are happy and the atmosphere is electric, all is well, it is a safe and happy place.
TCG: What is the most exciting thing happening in coffee right now for you?
Bill: The continued love affair with traditional Italian Coffee Blend by the Genevese family, full-bodied flavour. Once you teach the palate, you have a love affair for life.
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?
Bill: An espresso in Paris.
TCG: If you could make coffee for one other person of your choice (anyone- past or present), who would it be and what coffee would you make them?
Bill: For Faye, a short mac, one sugar.
TCG: As a barista, what’s your next big plan?
Bill: Go to Paris
TCG: Where is your favourite place to hang out in Melbourne?
TCG: What is your guilty pleasure?
TCG: Where did you grow up? And what is your fondest childhood memory?
Bill: In the country. Waterskiing and speedboats.
TCG: Do you have any pets?
Bill: We currently have a fighting fish, she is savage. Given to me by the Grandkids.
TCG: What did you do on your last day off?
Bill: Star watching with the grandkids on the roof.
TCG: In a good cup of coffee, how much of it is due to the barista and how much is due to the beans?
Bill: Everything matters.
TCG: Is decaf a dirty word?
Bill: No it means everyone can enjoy their cup, even those who can’t take caffeine.
TCG: Is specialty tea the new cappuccino?
Bill: Give me a break
TCG: What is your favourite kind of tea?
Bill: Same as my coffee, long, black, leaf.