Release Date: Apr 5, 2018

1. How long have you been a barista?

On and off for the past 11 years.

2. What’s the best thing about the job?

The people, both staff and customers. I love that my work is somewhere I can laugh and joke with everyone and I don’t have to be serious to be good at what I do.

3. And the most challenging thing about the job?

The people! There’s always going to be obnoxious individuals and sadly no way to avoid them!

4. How do you take your coffee?

Soy cappuccinos at the moment but I’m not set on any particular style.

5. How many coffees do you have a day?

2-3 when i’m working maybe only 1 if I’m at home.

6. What prompted your love affair with coffee?

Necessity more than anything, I used to have a lot of trouble staying awake and would just dose myself up with caffeine to be able to function. Initially I had to load my coffee with syrup and sugar to drink it but eventually I learned to love coffee on its own! (I still like a tiny bit of sweet chocolate on top though)

7. Tips for running a good coffee shop?

Your staff are the most valuable aspect of your business so treat them with respect, happy staff = happy customers. Build rapport with your regulars. If you’ve got a solid client base it will see you though any tough times and their high regard will always draw in new business. Maintain your equipment! Get your machine serviced regularly and if you’re a high volume cafe have a few spare parts on hand and know how to fix things in an emergency. Don’t be put off by criticism (within reason), use it to develop and grow your business. Just because you like something a certain way doesn’t necessarily mean it works for your customers or staff.

8. Some words that describe the staff that work with you at L’espresso?

Cheeky, sassy. We love having our silly interactions with our regulars and the longer you know them the more sass gets shared around, we don’t pull any punches!

9. Have you ever served someone famous in your shop?

Sort of… Mostly just politicians and AFL players. But I don’t follow politics or sport so I personally had no idea who they were, other people were excited though.

10. Favorite coffee shop in Australia? Why?

A Girl Called Jayne in Elwood. They use shaved chocolate on their caps and their almond croissants are pretty amazing too! An old favorite that deserves a mention is Collective Espresso in Camberwell, when I lived in the area it was my go to spot, and the first place I ever had smashed avocado!

11. Have a look through the the Tokyo shops on en.goodcoffee.me – where would like to visit and why?

Lotus looks like my kind of place! All that retro furniture, I love the booths! And I do believe they serve pastries?!

12. What’s the best food that goes with coffee?

Pastries! I love croissants! Especially almond ones. I feel very french having coffee and croissants ^^

13. What is something you consider excellent customer service?

Being flexible, there’s almost nothing that can’t be adjusted to suit someones dietary or accessibility needs.

14. and something that you consider bad customer service?

Not following up! If you have to check something for a customer be prompt, get back to them straight away, you can see the frustration on peoples faces when they’re waiting on information so they can make a decision.

15. Best background music to play in a cafe?

I like ambient electronica, or basically anything that a friend of mine calls “sad” music. L’espresso is also a music store so we have great tunes playing all the time. Mostly jazz and blues but also some really funky african and brazilian selections, along with the electronica.

16. The coolest movie with a coffee scene in it?

Probably Amelie, I love that film!

17. Who is someone that you look up to?

The designer Guo Pei, I saw her exhibit for the Triennial at the NGV in Melbourne, her work is utterly amazing.

18. Curate the perfect day in Ballarat.

Well you’d have to start with breakfast at L’espresso, i’m sure it sounds like shameless self promotion but it really is the best breakfast in town! After that a walk around the botanic gardens, there’s always wonderful floral displays. If you have children there is a large adventure playground opposite the gardens around the lake. Speaking of which strolling around Lake Wendouree is lovely, you can take in the bird life and Ballarats most expensive real estate. There are some amazing heritage properties around the lake and a walk along Webster street is worth a look as well. From there wandering along Sturt street, boutiques, cafes, architecture, historical monuments. Then once you get to Lydiard street you have Ballarat Regional Art Gallery, the Mining Exchange and Regent Cinemas. The gallery has great exhibitions and an extensive permanent collection with a focus on local history and the gold rush era. For lunch or dinner its hard to go past Armstrong street for choice, also Mitchell Harris Wine Bar on Doveton Street or Moon and Mountain on Mair Street.

19. What do you do in your free time?

Housework mostly, but I read a lot and I like to visit art galleries and exhibitions.

20. If you weren’t a barista, what would you be doing?

I’d like to think I’d be doing more art. I’ve just set up a studio at home which goes a long way towards making that happen.


Go and say hello to Elsa at L’Espresso in Ballarat. (417 Sturt St, Ballarat Central, Victoria, Australia)

Interview by Vaughan @vja
Photography by Nik van der Giesen @nvdg81
Photo taken at ink by Canvas Tokyo in Daikanyama

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