A moment of awe with – Blonde Food and Coffee 

Today I enjoyed my seventh consecutive sublime coffee at Blonde Food and Coffee. A new, pop-up style Cafe at the deserted end of Brunswick Street aims to please coffee aficionados and foodies alike.

The message is clear, a custom, beautiful Slayer espresso machine, two pots of ready-made batch brew, a Mahlkoenig EK grinder and choice cakes. All the trimmings of a European, Japanese or Melbourne espresso bar.

This is complete coffee.

I do not know where these two baristi came from however the work is masterful. As a coffee consultant, professional, career barista, Australian International Coffee Awards Judge, coffee roaster and former ST Ali trained and raised wholesale manager I know full well how many obstacles have to be overcome to win the favour of the bean. These guys are bringing the best beans in the word and bringing in they have to offer. There is no where else in Melbourne that can expose the heart and soul of a bean in the way that Blonde boys can do.




 “True hospitality is marked by an open response to the dignity of each and every person” Henri Nouwen

My first hospitality job was making fries at McDonalds. I was fortunate to work for Camberwell (Boroondara’s) Brian McMaster – a McDonalds franchise legend with AAA ratings coming out of his nose. We learned how to clean, be efficient and emulate hospitality like we were the original MacDonalds brothers from 1984. It was a privilege and an honour. And then I was fired.

The reality is that hospitality is an ugly business. Chefs can swear at you, not feed you to manipulate you. Employers can harass, not pay, and discriminate against you, and that all on a daily basis. Its not all the employers’ fault. It is a complex combination of the following:

  • The recent increase in service-based economics; from manufacturing. Australia is a service and ideas economy (Phillip Kingston)
  • There is less protection for workers
  • Hungry, caffeine lacking people can be mean.
  • Transient workers due to the above.

The reason I am honest about being fired from McDonalds is that it’s just not a big problem. I was fourteen years old and have since worked for scores of employers, been esteemed and valued in some workplaces where I have been promoted and equipped for years at a time, and been self employed.

If you maintain your focus on hospitality – serving others – you will do well.

The businesses I have worked for, mentored, trained and managed have done when, consistently, profitably well, when they look after their customers. Wait times need to be low, orders need to be remembered, regulars need to be rewarded and staff need to be happy.

Here a great article on “Becoming a Customer Again” by Jim Seven of UK

What’s wrong with coffee when everything is right.

In the 1990s everyone struggled to use their computer. We felt like we were stupid when we couldn’t get the PC to do what we wanted. Yet we were in an age where anything was possible with computing. 

Similarly the parallel in specialty coffee is we are at a time when anything is possible yet people don’t really know what they’re drinking. 

There is great confusion for the customer and like the computer manufacturers of the 90s the industry is happy to keep the consumer in the dark. The coffee drinker in Melbourne has access to an incredible array of choice and quality, yet they do not know how or why the coffee is good or when it’s not good, what to do. 

Like the useless paperclip 📎 in Microsoft, coffee companies and cafes offer little information or equipping for customers to discern or dicipher the vast array of coffee available. 

Mass produced coffee commodity suppliers like McDonald’s  and Nespress market their coffee as specialty, and send intentially misleading information marketing signals to confuse the client into believing a pod of 4 grams of  preground vacuum sealed coffee is a high end coffee. Cafes and roasters with terrible blended over developed robusta coffee buy machines and hire tattooed baristas who themselves are sending a message of quality that is in no way tied to reality. The presence of a LaMarzocco and a hipster barista is in no way a reflection of quality. 

I was at the Number 1 best cafe in Melbourne today with my wife, and the espresso was underdeveloped and overextracted, thin, powdery and intensely acrid and bitter. This coffee would be laughed at in a competition and the soy flat white was thick and chunky. 

But the $5.20 price wise happily paid by unassuming customers. 

One could argue that the customer is happy. But we were happy with asbestos too before we were educated. We were happy with total government surveillance before we knew it was standard practice. 

There is a need for customer service from the industry so that we can do what computing endeavors duo doing with the likes of  the iPad, and re-engineer a customer focused environment that is empowering for the end user. 
Coffee drinkers have never had so much choice and access to quality yet the do not know really what quality is or where to find it, or why it’s not in the other places they experience coffee. 

Why I quit Twitter and Facebook 

I’ve been raving Twit since it started. With over 1000 genuine followers and 8000 tweets over 7 years. I walked away from all those connections and Facebook. There is no more community, no more chronology. It’s like putting coins in a toy machine where only every now and then you win a prize. 

Twitter used  to be a community. It used to be chronological. How would you feel if your wife started texting you last week’s messages? That’s what Twitter is doing. 
You’ll  find me on google plus, email and cell. 

Coffee Training

Coffee Training

Promised Land Coffee

Espresso Training 101

Promised Land - High Res-11

Introductory Course to Espresso

Course Duration

2.5 Hours


by Jonathon Sciola Guest Frounder @promisedlandcoffee, coffee judge, barista trainer.


  • Basic Introduction to Espresso Equipment
    • Grinders
      • Electric Dosing Grinder
      • Manual Chamber Grinder
      • EK 43
    • Espresso Machines
      • Volumetrics vs non-Volumetrics
      • Heat Exchange vs Dual Boiler
    • Espresso Machine Parts
      • Works as a whole
      • Hot Clean and Dry
      • Portafilter, baskets, screens, groups.
      • Drip Tray, underneath drip tray.
      • Steam wand
    • Beverage Sizes (See Handout)

PART 2cropped-kef7828_hres.jpg

  • Setting a Coffee Recipe
    • Dialing in for taste
    • Dialing in for strength
    • Dialing in for extraction percentage


  • wp-1475352114813.jpgACTIVE COACHING
    • 30 minutes of COACHING making SHOTS of espresso
    • 30 minutes of COACHING steaming milk
    • Introduction to EXTRACTION
    • Strength cupping session
    • Pairing tickets
    • Workstation “reset”
    • Milk “dosing”
    • Multitasking / talking with customers
    • Cleaning and restocking


Read more about specialty coffee cafes…
    • An opportunity to make a complete beverage
    • Optional: Coffee Competency Audit
    • Advanced: Dialing in in 2 minutes.
  • Further reading will be given to take home

LATTE ART20130824-193611.jpg


Perception, quality, hireability

Milk quality



My preference




Milk Patterns (as opposed to latte art)

Practice in your own time.



1. WHAT – heat, stretch, mix, texture, split, pour.

2. HOW

a. Portion according to beverage                         

b. Position                       




c. MIX



1. Start with great milk of the required portion

2. Start medium distance

3. Maintain steady medium speed

4. When cup half full (stop)

5. Come in close with spout almost touching (wiggle optional)

6. Pour into the BULLSEYE of the cup at a high angle.

7. When just almost empty, raise the lip of the jug to thin out milk stream and SWIPE through FAST


https://vimeo.com/63338928 and https://vimeo.com/66343904




● Practical:

⌧ 2 Lattes in 2 minutes

⌧ with equal head and good temperature (60-65C)


  • Optional:

⌧ Dial In coffee in 10 minutes with assistance

⌧ Program volumetrics

⌧ Program Grinder

⌧ Tasting shots

  • Milk Texturing

⌧ 3-stage Process

⌧ Splitting Technique

⌧ Temperature

  • Latte Art

⌧ Heart in centre

⌧ Crema intact

⌧ Integration

  • Cleanliness

⌧ Porta-filters

⌧ Backflushing

⌧ Grinders

  • Workflow and Efficiency

⌧ Dose Consistency (checking grinder)

⌧ Checking Volumetrics Setting for Coffee (according to espresso recipe)

⌧ Taste Espresso ( use spare shot)

⌧ Minimise milk wastage ( steaming from a small jug)

⌧ Clean workstation

Promised Land Coffee





  • Short Black / Single Shot
  • Single espresso as standard
  • (approximately 20 grams of coffee)
  • Served in a demitasse
  • Must be served quickly



Long black

  • Double espresso on a bed of hot water
  • Served in a 160ml cup
  • 50-60ml of hot water
  • Must be served quickly


Short Macchiato

  • Single espresso
  • Served in a demitasse
  • 20ml hot milk with contrast on centre


Long Macchiato

  • Double espresso
  • Served in a 160ml cup
  • 20-40ml of hot water
  • 20ml hot milk with contrast on centre



  • Single espresso
  • Served in a 160ml cup
  • Thickest milk texture achievable without visible bubbles
  • Slightly “domed” or convex dill level
  • No chocolate dusting OR light dusting of chocolate on the espresso base


Flat White

  • Single espresso
  • Served in a 160ml cup
  • Milk must still have reasonable texture


  • Single espresso
  • Served in a glass
  • 1 cm of head/foam depth (filled according to order)


An Intuitive Guide To Coffee Solubles,

Extraction And TDS


Black Bird

Originally published by theworldlovesmelbourne.com

Black Bird is Promised Land Coffee’s premium seasonal espresso blend. While Promised Land Coffee is recognised for the best filter coffee in Melbourne, delivered daily to cafes, they supply specialty cafes with espresso beans, unmatchable support and the latest high tech equipment. Jonathon Sciola the owner of Promised Land Coffee is excited about Black Bird which is a “designed blend”. A designed blend is a coffee that is created with a specific flavour profile in mind. Founder and one of Melbourne’s best baristas with a huge legacy in specialty coffee, Jonathon Sciola went to the drawing board to create a “cafes secret weapon”. Jonathon says “Every cafe wants the same thing – an easy to use espresso blend, that is consistent all year round and tantalises milk drinkers.. They love a complex coffee with heaps of body and enough acidity to splice milk drinks, while having complexities such as fruitiness to satisfy black coffee drinkers. There are probably two blends on the market that nail this and mine is one of them.

Black Bird is designed to exhibit: complex berry notes, intense syrupy sweetness, creamy mouthfeel, sparkling fruit acidity, and an extended developed after-taste.

“Black Bird is like a wave that builds,” Jonathon says. “The first sip takes you on an ocean holiday: as your lips touch the ceramic cup thick buttery chocolate and berry notes hit the palate, as the coffee reaches the back of the mouth an explosion of fresh forest fruit combines with waves of clean, creamy caramels. It’s the kind of coffee patrons order two and three cups with breakfast”

Jonathon is very serious about milk quality. Milk is a huge part of the equation. A full cream, homogenised milk such as Inglenook Dairy in Western Victoria is a must according to Jonathon. One misconception in the specialty coffee community is that unhomogenised is better. We’re all about consistency and unhomogenised is very inconsistent in it’s fat content. You first cup may be pure butter, but the last skinny milk. It’s nice to think unhomogenised is better, because in principle it is, but in a cafe environment we need to get serious about consistency. Jonathon believes in matching a milk with a certain coffee. “Some coffees are more acidic than others. It’s the same with milk. Some coffees are so sweet that they can be washed out by a sugary milk. Our seasonal food menus change week to week. It’s not a huge change for us to consider which milk is best for each coffee”.

Winter Black Bird components:

  • 50% Fresh Crop Colombia Morales Cauca (Washed Process)
  • 35% Honduras Barrios Estate (Natural Process)
  • 15% Ethiopia Yirgacheff Organic (Natural)

The Colombian provides a heavy, sweet body with sparkling plum acidity and some grape notes. The Honduras, like many central American coffees is very citrusy and offers medium caramel body and subtle almond nuttiness. Ethiopian Yirgacheff combines to make the whole experience very creamy and balanced with caramelised fruit sweetness and even more depth of body. DSC_9966.jpg

Watch inside the coffee roaster

ROASTED from Kavekalmar on Vimeo.

Open Christmas Day: Melbourne cafes open Christmas morning! Serving coffee! (updating often) 

Canterbury VIC 3126 (Maling Road) 

  • The Maling Room 
  • Serving: Symmetry Coffee 
  • Open 7am.
  • Cash only. 

East Melbourne VIC (222 Clarendon Street) 

Upside roof top bar (127 Brunswick Street Fitzroy) 

  • From 5pm

De clieu (Fitzroy) 

    St Ali (South Melbourne) 

    Why I don’t use Facebook constructively speaking

    It’s not my face, book

    There is no way for me to customise or create my homepage I have no editorial or design ability to change my face page. Facebook started it was competing with Myspace and Facebook definitely isn’t my space.  about.me does this well. 

    Secondly they are not my friends! 

    The news algorithm changes the chronology and relevance of my friends posts. 
    I’m unsure why other people follow friends but for me I want to see everything every one of them posts.  This is impossible with Facebook. I don’t want to see Wednesday nights invitation to a pool party on Saturday and I want every one of my friends to see my posts. Is not their following of me an indication that they want to see what I post?
    Does it not make sense that if I follow a friend I want to follow their feed? I want to see every post every friend and vice versa. I find Facebook completely irrelevant and useless. 

    5 Reasons Why Work  Coffee Sucks 

    1. Workplaces continue to provide commodity coffee whereas outside the office on the streets speciality coffee has taken over. Staff will not drink from a pod machine when theres incredibly goood coffee  outside! That costs the office in downtime. Big time. We estimate around $8k per employee per year. Bad coffee at work is the new “smoking” cost economically. 

    2. Espresso machines at work are never clean, never maintained, and no one usually knows how to use them properly Espresso. When a staff member does know they create a waterhole experience of 20-30 minute ling waits while the barista makes coffees. Benefits of espresso is that it’s ground fresh. 

    3. Pod machines are bad for the environment, use PREGROUND coffee which is never okay, and really don’t cut it using 4 grams only per pod. They are actually more similar to filter coffee than espresso. Benefits of pod machines is they are very consistent and very fast. 

    4. Filter coffee options have classically been steeped, percolated low quality coffee,  and often sit on hot plates baking all day. This is all bad. 

    5. Milk at work is usually poor quality and often UHT. If you go to a specialty cafe outside they will have high quality biodynmaic milk. 

    Here’s the solution:

    Promised Land Coffee delivers Melbourne’s best Batch  Brew to workplaces a daily basis. You don’t need milk because filter coffee is sublime balanced and sweet in its own. It has superior quality to pourover at a cafe. Superior consistency to a pod machine. The speed of a pod machine and is environmentally friendly.