Meet Michaela

The Coffee Club's Head of Coffee, and the tastebuds behind Three Stories

Meet Michaela, our Head of Coffee

After 35 years caffeinating the Australian public, The Coffee Club are changing their blend.  We spoke to The Coffee Club’s Head of Coffee, Michaela Gerard, about the new Three Stories Chapter 1 blend, Australia’s coffee culture, and how the way we drink coffee has changed over the years.

Michaela is an expert in coffee, with over 28 years as a self-professed coffee lover, but it hasn’t always been that way, with Michaela joking that she didn’t start drinking coffee until she was 21.

“I was working in a café, and enjoyed making coffees so much that I thought I should probably start drinking it too! But I started with a mocha with 2 sugars, so…” She trails off, grinning.

Times have changed though, and now only is Michaela now the Head of Coffee at The Coffee Club, but she also regularly judges national and international coffee competitions.

“The way we make coffee today is nothing like it used to be, in an amazing way – the only thing that’s the same is that we still use beans,” Michaela says. From the milks to the machinery, the coffee-making process has been through revolutions and revelations over the years, constantly changing and improving the way we drink our favourite beverage.

“The great thing about the change though, is that the general population of Australia have been brought on the journey alongside the specialists and baristas, and most Australian’s are on the journey together and looking for a good quality coffee.”

But what is it that makes a quality coffee, and can it be narrowed down to one thing? The short answer is no. Michaela judges a coffee at a competition level, and the way she judges varies depending on if it’s an espresso or a milk coffee, but she says you generally take 2 sips, sometimes 3, to judge the coffee. In a competition setting, where she’s trying multiple coffees and absorbing information from the contestants at the same time, you have to be fast and create memories of the experience as you’re trying each one, to be able to accurately draw back on the memories to judge. There’s a lot to take into consideration.

“Whether it’s espresso or milk, the flavour is actually the last thing that we analyse, as the flavour can change from the start to the end of a coffee.”

With so many elements making up a coffee, it’s how all of these elements work together, or don’t, that creates the coffee experience.

For a nation known for our love of coffee and cafes, it was clear that developing a new blend the The Coffee Club was a task that couldn’t be taken lightly.

“The café culture in Australia is so highly regarded across the world,” Michaela says. “Even in the 90s, people were raving about Melbourne as a coffee hub, even before specialty coffee became a thing.”

“We’re very much an outdoorsy, social country, and as time has gone on, we’ve refined everything from the food to the café setting, but especially the coffee.”

“While Australians who drink coffee regularly may not know how to quantify with words what makes a good coffee, they know what’s good, and they’re seeking that quality.”

For the Three Stories Chapter 1 blend, Michaela explains that it uses a high grade of green coffee that’s specialty grade, and when roasting it, it doesn’t need to be developed too much and can sit at a medium roast.

“So we’re maintaining a bit of acidity, but realty highlighting the sweetness in that cup. Like acid in food, acid brings the food alive, and it’s the same with coffee.”

“The blend is a complex, sweeter, smoother experience, with beans from three origins,” Michaela says, adding that you can expect to pick up chocolate and caramel flavours.

“It’s quite punchy, and will definitely make you feel like you’ve had a coffee. It’s a good all-round coffee – it doesn’t matter who you are, you’re going to like this coffee!”

For those just starting out their adventures into the world of coffee, Michaela says that it’s easy to get started, and that its easily accessible In Australia with a café on virtually every corner.

“Just start trying different roasters, origins and varietals, and opening up your palette to the rainbow of coffee that’s out there!”

“But the most important thing is to drink coffee with people, and to learn your new language of coffee together,” she says. “Plus, coffee is 100 per cent a social activity!”

While Michaela has sampled thousands of different coffees over the years, you might expect her to be a bit of a coffee purist. But Michaela says when she’s trying new coffee spots or picking up a coffee on the go, she enjoys a normal flat white and tries not to overthink it too much.

“A good coffee that’s consistent with excellent service is always a win for me – it’s the all-round experience.”


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