What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I’m the Wholesale General Manager for CMCR and part of the awesome squad that runs Common Man Coffee Roaster’s wholesale business, working with a team of experts responsible for sourcing, roasting and packing our beans, and supporting our wholesale customers, with training, technical support and expertise.
Despite being late to the specialty coffee industry, I was always passionate about coffee, having started out as a barista for my first job as a kid growing up in New Zealand. I actually found my way into the industry via a career in hotels, where I was running F&B operations for a number of 5-star hotels in different parts of the world, eventually finding my role with CMCR via our partners Five Senses Coffee in Australia.
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of this job is working with and meeting some incredibly passionate and talented people, across a pretty diverse industry, but all sharing a common thread; a commitment to the ideals of specialty coffee.
What’s one of the most outrageous things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
Most of my outrageous, work-related, behind-the-scenes stories come from my previous life in hotels and usually relate to one celebrity or another. From the time Lady Gaga caused napkin-related chaos in my restaurant, to the time, after a big night out, that Justin Beiber decided to graffiti the outside of the hotel, it was rarely a dull moment when these types of characters are around.
A day in the life of a GM is…
The beautify of the role I have is that I’m involved in most parts of the business – so you might find me starting my day by putting the final touches on our plans for this year’s Singapore Coffee Fest, before jumping in to help our Tech team with the installation of espresso and brewing equipment for an upcoming café, then into a sales meeting with a potential customer that’s looking at expanding and growing their coffee programme, and maybe finishing the day by helping the team out with one of our monthly Curated Cuppings, where we explore a specific subject in coffee for industry and members of the public alike.
What do you do for fun?
When I have the time, I still really enjoy cooking at home! But often times I’ll take some time out with my guitar, or by playing some rugby with a local club; though I’m only allowed to play non-contact rugby now that I’m over 30.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about Common Man Coffee Roasters?
If I could choose anything, it would be the amount of commitment and passion our different teams put into creating the experiences people have in our cafes; from the wholesale team roasting, blending and packing our amazing coffee, to the kitchen crews toiling away to create those delicious brunch dishes, to the barista teams and their commitment to quality whilst working under pressure, and lastly the service crew that always keep their smiles, even when the line out the door keeps growing!
What’s your view on the coffee scene in Kuala Lumpur?
I’ve had the privilege of watching KL’s already vibrant specialty coffee community develop over the past two year, and I think that the speedy growth of the industry is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit that is strong throughout Malaysia and the endeavor of those young, passionate owner/operators that are opening up fantastic café’s all around town.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
There’s always something going on in Common Man Coffee Roasters KL!
We’re going to continue with our Curated Cupping programme, bringing various coffee topics to town with talks and cuppings on the subjects.
We are also super excited to be bringing the Malaysian AeroPress Championship to KL later this year, with more information on that coming in the next few months.
We’re also constantly developing our CMCR Academy programme and offering new content to both industry and professional students.