The art of a good cup

Co ee is a se­ri­ous busi­ness, ac­cord­ing to Wild Bean Cafe Hoon Hay man­ager Shan­non Rad­cli e. He should know – the award-win­ning barista and dad-of-four has been grind­ing beans and steam­ing milk for an im­pres­sive 16 years.

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Shan­non didn’t think much of it when he made his first cup of cof­fee back in 2002, and he cer­tainly didn’t think craft­ing the per­fect cup would be­come his pas­sion. “It re­ally is,” says the Cantabrian. “Baris­tas are pas­sion­ate about their craft, and the peo­ple who drink the stuff are pas­sion­ate about mak­ing sure they get it! “I love mak­ing cof­fee – the best part is meet­ing my cus­tomers’ ex­pec­ta­tions for how they like their caf­feine,” he says. Lucky for Shan­non, his cus­tomers are a lovely lot, who Shan­non jokes “would for­get their head if it wasn’t screwed on” with­out their morn­ing brew!

TRI­ALS AND TRAIN­ING

A lot has changed in 16 years – when Shan­non first started at BP as a stu­dent, the cof­fee ma­chines were self-serve, push-but­ton mod­els, “not the barista ex­pe­ri­ence you get to­day,” he says. He’s worked his way up to be­come store man­ager, while meet­ing wife Lyn­delle, and hav­ing four kids; Caleb (10), Chelsea (8), Ja­cob (5) and three-year-old Naomi. But what hasn’t changed are the se­crets to brew­ing a good cup – beans freshly ground to or­der, pay­ing at­ten­tion to the espresso shot, and of course, a smile – and the power cof­fee has to bring peo­ple to­gether. “I’ll al­ways re­mem­ber af­ter the 2011 earth­quake, the sta­tion I was work­ing at was hit hard. But 12 days af­ter, we were up and run­ning. I had to make a one­and-a-half hour round trip to bot­tle the wa­ter from the spring my­self. But peo­ple got their cof­fee, and they stayed for a chat. We be­came a real go-to place, not just for the cof­fee, but for the emo­tional sup­port.”

FAM­ILY – HIS TOUGH­EST CUS­TOMERS

Thanks to his in­cred­i­ble skills, Shan­non’s taken out Wild Bean Cafe’s barista com­pe­ti­tion four times, even win­ning a $5000 ma­chine for him­self in 2014! It’s gone down a real treat with the fam­ily, though Lyn­delle re­fuses to be taught how to make her own cof­fee. “She just wants me to make it!” So, ev­ery day af­ter his shift, Shan­non heads home to where “five of my favourite cus­tomers are wait­ing for me.”

FROM TOP: Shan­non work­ing his magic be­hind the co ee ma­chine; the Rad­cli e fam­ily; Shan­non mak­ing co ee, chai and hot choco­lates for his five favourite cus­tomers af­ter work.

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