Get to know our Studio 10 Barista
1. How long have you been a barista with Gloria Jean's Coffees?
It's been about 10 years now since I joined the Gloria Jean's Coffees team. I remember being in a Gloria Jean's coffee house and I was blown away by the connection between the baristas and the guests. When my coffee was ready, the barista said ‘Coffee for Damien' - I had never seen that level of customer service before - and I thought ‘Wow, this is amazing'. Then when I tried the coffee, I was hooked.
2. What's the best thing about working with Gloria Jean's Coffees?
Aside from my passion for great coffee, I love being part of someone's day, getting to chat to guests and getting to know them. People come in to my coffee house and tell me about their day, and what's going on in their life. I love that connection, and that's what Gloria Jean's Coffees is all about.
3. What's your favourite coffee?
I'm exclusively a Long Black drinker. For me, the best part of coffee is the taste and the aroma. I'm a bit of a coffee purist and love being able to taste the beans. My personal favourite is the Gloria Jean's Sereno Blend coffee, it's a medium roast so I get a smooth, creamy coffee taste.
4. What is the most surprising thing about being a barista?
Before I become a Gloria Jean's Coffees barista, I thought coffee was just coffee but over the last 10 years I have learnt so much! I'm lucky that Gloria Jean's Coffees has their own roasting facility right here in Sydney so I get to see the process the beans go through. I've also immersed myself in the Gloria Jean's Coffees Barista Training Programs, which cover everything from taste differences between beans and blends, different brewing methods and how extraction affects the taste of coffee.
5. You recently joined the Studio 10 team, how are you finding it?
It's incredible. I love going in every morning, there's always so much energy and excitement in the studio! Studio 10 has a very similar culture to Gloria Jean's Coffees, it's positive, friendly, creative and innovative and the hosts are all welcoming - it has been very easy to settle in.
6. Any 'secrets' from the set you can share?
Surprisingly no, all the hosts are very much 'what you see is what you get'. They are all friendly, warm and witty both on and off screen. Joe does have three flat whites and three bananas everyday; I think it's where he gets his energy.
7. What's a typical day for you?
My day starts early, I've been on Studio 10 for a few weeks now but I still wake up excited. I get to Studio 10 about 7am and my first job is to get the coffee kiosk set up. Once I've done that, I go down to get my make up done, which was strange at the start but I'm adapting. Then I take the morning coffee and tea orders and get serve the team. When Studio 10 is done for the day, I clean down all the machines, check my stock levels and close up for the day before heading to my own coffee house where I do it all over again.
8. What does a TV barista do in his spare time?
I tend to be very busy doing jobs around the house, there's always something do. Right now I'm painting and it seems to be taking forever. I love spending time with my kids, I try to collect them from school a couple of days a week and spend time with them. When I do get some time to myself I love to play golf, it's one of my passions so I try get on the green as often as I can.
9. How did you become a TV barista - where did it all start for you?
It was all pretty surreal. One of the Gloria Jean's Coffees Operations Manager advised me about the opportunity and suggested I go for it and the rest is history. Before I started on the show I spent a few weeks working with Gloria Jean's Coffees Head Barista Trainer, Melita Ferraro. Melita runs all the coffee training programs at Gloria Jean's Coffees, so she made sure I was ready for my TV debut.
10. Any career advice for budding baristas?
Find a mentor or training program. Looking back on my career over the past 10 years, the Gloria Jean's Coffees training programs have been invaluable to me. You need to know your coffee. Secondly, you need be a people person. The word barista comes from the Italian word for barman. Like a barman, you need to be able to talk to people, connect with them and build that relationship. Lastly, I believe if you work hard and follow your passion then opportunities will come your way.