All Good Interviews: Sean

Sean aka The Drumming Barista is an incredibly talented barista, at home cocktail maker and an absolute legend! We chatted all things coffee, his passion project and plans for the future. You can find him here.

by Faye MacGregor on March 21, 2022

Tell us about yourself and your background.

My name is Sean also known on Instagram as The Drumming Barista. I am 27 years old and originally from London but now call Wellington home.

From April 2018 up until July 2021 I worked as a full-time professional barista. I came into the coffee industry through a love for drinking coffee. Let me be real for a moment: I wanted to work as a full-time barista so I could start saving money on all the coffee I was buying haha!

I came from a background of furniture and digital marketing, coffee was a hobby on the side and something I enjoyed with family and friends. I started working as a barista with only self-taught experience from watching videos on YouTube, spending time at cafe’s watching the baristas and of course making coffee at home.

How did The Drumming Barista Start? Where did the name come from?

The Drumming Barista was created in November 2018 on Instagram when I landed my second barista job at Fellow Cafe. It was purely intended as a place for me to upload pictures of latte art and keep a record/track of my progress and this is how the page stayed for roughly a year.

During my time training to become a barista I searched high and low for an Instagram profile that was easy to follow, entertaining, informative (but not over the top), engaging and inspirational for a trainee/home barista. The ironic thing is, I found a lot of profiles that fit the mould and had an amazing time connecting with people, but soon came to realise that within New Zealand no one was creating content accessible for home baristas and baristas in training. This is where The Drumming Barista was birthed.

The name came from a conversation I had one night with my wife Fiona over dinner about drums and coffee and that I would love to combine the two somehow. Fiona turned and said “The Drumming Barista sounds cool?” I excitedly replied with “Sounds better than cool, It sounds mean as.”

What has been a memorable moment since starting The Drumming Barista?

This is an easy one.

Connecting with All Good and building a beautiful friendship/working relationship with all the crew. All Good is such an incredible company making a huge impact everywhere you go. It is such an honour to represent you guys through my profile and to use your products to create such beautiful oat milk coffees at home and oat milk cocktails.

What makes the perfect coffee cocktail to you?

A coffee cocktail that is simple and tastes like coffee!!

It sounds so obvious but is often overlooked. Coffee is such a big flavour on its own but mixed with to many other ingredients/flavours you can very quickly lose it, resulting in a very underwhelming coffee cocktail.

The Drumming Barista’s perfect 3-ingredient Latte Martini: 60ml of All Good Oat Milk, 45ml of coffee liqueur and 30ml of fresh espresso. Shaken hard and fast until your tins are frosted. Strain into a frozen martini glass. Garnished with 3 coffee beans. Super simple and super delicious. You can have that one for free! 😉

With the COVID-19 lockdown closures, how did this affect your work and did this give you an opportunity to work on The Drumming Barista?

Let me jump back a year where we went into full level 4 lockdown.

My team and I at the time had to completely shut down the cafe, lock the doors and walk away not knowing when we would next be back. Level 3 came quicker than expected. This was a breath of fresh air for the coffee industry in NZ as a whole.

I personally got the best job during level 3 of being The Hangar’s delivery driver, which was amazing being able to see customers faces again, even if it was through the window of the van or the customers house window when I left their order on the doorstep.

I went home and thought to myself I could either see this as a forced 6 weeks holiday and take the opportunity to not really do much or to put the extra time, space and energy I found myself with into The Drumming Barista. That is exactly what I did!

I taught myself some new graphic design and video production skills.. I created a couple of brew-at-home tutorials showcasing hand brew techniques and other simple techniques using coffee equipment that the everyday coffee drinker would have at home in the pantry.

This allowed me to see the gap in the market that New Zealanders wanted to learn more about coffee and more easy to follow coffee brewing tutorials. This Is where The Drumming Barista really began to grow and turn into the incredible community of people and brands it is today.

It sparked many new ideas, creative outlets and visions for me and I have been able to bring some of those visions alive. For example: Creating a fresh new logo that stands out and is literally The Drumming Barista. Creating and launching an online store to sell TDB merchandise (re-launching soon) and creating my own blog. Link is below for you all!

If you could only use one piece of brewing equipment for the rest of your life, what would it be?

This may come as a surprise to some. But honestly, It will have to be my French Press. Such an easy piece of brewing equipment to use. Always makes a great brew and is a crowd pleaser.

If you don’t finish all of your brew, decant the coffee into a bottle and place it in the fridge for a super simple cold brew! #InsiderTips

Who inspires you most and why?

Man this is actually a really difficult question to answer as I have so many inspirations in my life. From my incredible wife Fiona right down to my best friend Steve.

But, in-keeping with the coffee industry theme. My biggest inspiration is Bonnie Lam who owns the incredible coffee dojo and coffee shack down south in the beautiful Wanaka, New Zealand. She is such an incredible ‘mum' of the New Zealand coffee industry. So caring, supportive and encouraging of everyone she meets. Super hard working, so many visions and has the biggest desire to see speciality coffee in New Zealand be more approachable for everyone!

When things are going All Good, how do you like to celebrate?

By whipping up an All Good Oat Milk smoothie I created called ’The Green Bean’. Coffee forward and totally vegan smoothie with a generous caffeine hit!! Bang, bang!!

You recently had your last day working at The Hangar, what are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future are to have a career change, come out of working as a full time barista and move into digital marketing.

I am currently studying at home in my spare time and connecting with some incredible people within the marketing industry who are helping to shape my next steps and guide me in the right direction for my career. So it is a very exciting and scary time for sure.

I would like to add - this is certainly not the end of The Drumming Barista. I believe it is just the beginning. I have many big plans and visions, sometimes a bit crazy, but you have to dream crazy dreams otherwise you will never take risks. From creating an online store to releasing limited edition TDB merchandise. More content on my Instagram in the form of reels, stories and lives with special guests. All Good is on the guest list! I also have plans to turn The Drumming Barista into a freelance barista service as a side hustle to work alongside companies and brands at trade shows or special events where they need a qualified barista to make coffee or to be a face of the brand to help market and extend their reach. Similar situation for cafe’s who need help training new staff or need a barista for a one off shift. Big Plans!

What are three piece of advice you could share to someone who is wanting to pursue and share their passion online?

Oh, I love this question!! First of all in the words of Nike - “JUST DO IT”.

You will hear this all the time but seriously just do it. The hardest part of wanting to turn a passion into a reality is actually getting over ourselves and just starting.

1: Create a vision board/mind map for what it is you want to do. Write everything down that is in your head, I mean everything! Even the things that you think are small and not relevant, they could become stepping stones to something really big. Read over your board/mind map, refine it, hone in on your niche.

2: Create that social media profile or blog. Start following relevant pages, reaching out and introducing yourself and getting inspiration and learning from those pages. Make sure you aren’t copying them but take little snippets and turn it into content that sounds and looks like you.

3: The ultimate. START CREATING CONTENT. It might not look amazing but be proud of yourself for beginning the journey. 'You learn by creating, so get creating’ - find your voice, style and look. Lock it down and make sure to put ‘YOURSELF’ in the heart of everything you post. People want to feel part of your world and want to support something that brings them enjoyment and satisfaction.

Extra piece of advice: When you start to build a community outside of the pages you initially followed, don’t be shy to interact with them. Reply to comments and messages but make sure you use ‘your’ voice!

First place you would travel to when we can travel again?

England, so I can see my parents again and give them a big cuddle!

Where can we find you?

Thank you for asking. You can find me on the following platforms:

Instagram @thedrummingbarista

The Drumming Barista Blog https://thedrummingbarista.substack.com

Online store launch sign up page: https://mailchi.mp/a98111dd1b9e/thedrummingbarista

 

 

 

 

 

 

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