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In late May, the whole All Wheels Rental team had the pleasure of doing a Coffee cupping class at the Grounds of Alexandria. The class detailed a brief history of the cupping ritual, and we were educated on the full sensory experience by focusing on aspects of fragrance, aroma, break, brightness, mouth-feel and flavour.  We left with a better understanding of the complexity to be found within a great cup of coffee.

We spoke with Nick who led our coffee cupping experience and asked him a few questions.

AWR – Can you share with us as an overview of coffee cupping and the life of a high-level coffee roaster?

Cupping is essentially just tasting coffee. It is the most basic form of brewing and is done universally around the world in the same way. It’s done for many reasons such as roast profiling, QC and buying.

I’m not sure if I consider myself a top level coffee roaster, however, I’m always striving to push myself, the team to be better and do the best I can always –  for perfection. I’m very fortunate to be in the position I’m in to be able to have freedom of buying amazing coffees, developing Roast profiles, having great relationships, working with amazing people and great equipment. We are really lucky to have amazing baristas also.

AWR – What’s the key to consistently sourcing good coffee beans?

That’s a good question. I’d say relationships are really important and knowledge of regions, harvests and of course coffee! Knowing what physical and sensory defects to watch out for and having a good palate helps also.

AWR  – Where is the most interesting and exotic location you have sourced coffee beans from?

The most interesting would probably be the gesha village in Ethiopia. Its an amazing project growing various indigenous geisha varietals where they were first discovered. The most exotic for me is probably Panama.

AWR –  For a newbie to the coffee scene what are 3 tips you would suggest when selecting a coffee type?

Go for local specialty coffee roasters/ specialty coffee shops.

2. Go with your instincts and what you like

3. Don’t be afraid to try new things

AWR – Can you share a little about ethical trading in the coffee industry vs coffee as a commodity?  That’s a big one and I’m glad you asked. The coffee supply chain is long and complex and sometimes it’s hard to know whether the producer is getting a fair price, generally speaking, speciality coffee is based on cup quality in most cases so there is a good chance producers are getting rewarded for their hard work.

With Commodity coffee, it is based on a commodity price which is based on the NYSE. Nothing to do with a producers cost of production. Right now there a crisis and the “C’ price is so low in many cases it’s below the cost of production which is terrible news for producers and not sustainable at all.

AWR – What is your favourite thing about the world of coffee?

I love meeting new people and giving people a unique and memorable coffee experience. I also love how its always changing and people are discovering new things all the time.

AWR – What is your fave blend of coffee and why?

I’m not really sure I have a favourite blend. I really love enjoying great coffees by themselves usually however its a milk coffee I really like our house blend. It always hits the spot, but I love tinkering with new things.

AWR – What is one of your Weirdest experiences during a coffee cupping and sourcing?

I’ve had some pretty weird experiences cupping for sourcing. Its always interesting to cup overseas with different people in different places. For sure there weird stuff going on and different languages etc but Ive usually got my game face on whilst making important buying decisions.

AWR – Top 2 fave coffee houses outside your own

That’s a tough one! I’d say, Tim Windleboe in Norway and I always like going to Aunty pegs in Melbourne.

AWR – What is your fave accompaniment to coffee?

I’m usually not wanting to eat whilst tasting but if it’s going to be anything its breakfast on the weekend. Brewing coffee at home with Eggs on toast is always nice.


AWR – There is sooooo much to the world of coffee, in one sentence how would you sum up your journey as a coffee Roaster?

That’s true. I’d say that my journey as a coffee roaster has certainly been a really wild and unexpected one. I’ve worked really hard and followed my passion and I’m really grateful to those that have supported me and given me amazing opportunities along the way. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

All Wheels Rentals would like to say a big thank you to Nick @ The Grounds Alexandria for his time and sharing his knowledge and experience with us. 



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