Barista Of The Week… Michael Pham
Barista & Owner at Tiny Cafe, 51 Cromwell Street, Collingwood.
The Coffee Guide (TCG): If you weren’t a barista what would you be?
Michael: Honing my photography, shooting the most delicious meals around. Then eating them!
TCG: How do you have your coffee at home? How do you make it and how do you take it?
Michael: Black via a French press. I love how simple it is, and how the smell lingers around beautifully all morning.
TCG: What’s the best thing about your job- the one thing that you really love aside from the coffee?
Michael: It’s gotta be the people! I even forget it’s work sometimes…
TCG: What is your favourite music? (For work or for play).
Michael: For work – could be anything from James Brown, Elvis, Elton, Herbie Hancock – anything to get the vibe up! For Play – definitely bad 90’s hip hop and dumb ballads! I love a cringe-worthy song.
TCG: What’s your favourite food?
Michael: Italian. Easy, fast, always so so so so delicious.
TCG: If you’re not drinking coffee, what is your drink of choice?
Michael: Ginger beer. Such a perfect quencher.
TCG: What made you become a barista?
Michael: To get a new trick up my sleeve.
TCG: Do people often try and chat you up at work? Have you ever taken the offer up?
Michael: I think I’m a little oblivious to it… I’d probably think they’re just being friendly.
TCG: What food do you think is the best compliment to a really great coffee?
Michael: A really, really flaky almond or chocolate croissant. They’re just made for each other!
TCG: How many coffees would you make in the average day?
Michael: More than I could imagine coming from a small stairwell! I’m constantly surprised how many people know the shop’s here, considering it’s not much bigger than a pantry.
TCG: What’s the largest amount of coffees you have made in a day?
Michael: I have no idea, but running out of cups is never a great moment.
TCG: Does your coffee style (or how you drink it) say something about you?
Michael: More than you’d think! I love people whose coffees can be ordered in two words or less. They’re not mucking around!
TCG: Where do all the old baristas go?
Michael: They left?
TCG: Who would make a better coffee, King Kong or Godzilla?’
Michael: King Kong! He’d get all the best beans from the jungle. Godzilla also doesn’t have proper hands.
TCG: What is the most exciting thing happening in coffee right now for you?
Michael: I’m loving how places are moving away from regular cups and going for gorgeous, uneven handmade ones. Minanoie’s ones just feel like the perfect vessel for a brew.
TCG: As a barista, what’s your next big plan?
Michael: Scheming the next venture!
TCG: Where is your favourite place to hang out in Melbourne?
Michael: Bar Americano is just perfect to knock off at the end of a week – and you really get to have a great chin wag with the dudes behind the counter.
TCG: Do you have any pets?
Michael: Sadly, none…
TCG: What did you do on your last day off?
Michael: Finally had time to thumb my way through some new books that had arrived – would love to start making my own bread!
TCG: In a good cup of coffee, how much of it is due to the barista and how much is due to the beans?
Michael: I think it’s an even split! One needs the other and vice-versa!
TCG: Is decaf a dirty word?
Michael: Somewhat. It’s up there with mocktails, fake tans and those shoes that wrap around your toes.
TCG: Is specialty tea the new cappuccino?
Michael: What are you saying about cappuccinos?
TCG: What is your favourite kind of tea?
Michael: The Victorian peppermint from Storm in a Teacup
TCG: What is your favourite alternate brewing method?