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Meet the Baristas: Matt Haigh

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11 August 2016

Thirteen years in hospitality, Matt has just joined us at Emporio HQ in Abel Smith St. As well as being an expert barista, he’ll be offering barista training for Emporio clients, students and anyone else who is keen to learn the skills.

RH: What have you been up to in those thirteen years Matt?
MH: Mostly living in Australia managing bars. I first went to the Gold Coast nine years ago to open a new venue, and then to Melbourne to run two venues for the Westin Hotel. I got into coffee working in Melbourne at Little Wish Café in Little Collins Street. Before moving to Australia, I worked in bars in Wellington, including the Jet Bar. What excites you about working at Emporio? Offering the training programmes. I like empowering other people to do cool stuff, seeing the nerves fade away as they gain new confidence. There are now really high expectations of barista training, and Emporio delivers to that top level.

What else do you enjoy about the coffee business?
I love the community. There are so many people willing to share information; share their experiences and their knowledge. Every country has their own take on coffee, and it’s such an important part of a lot of people’s day. It’s also the number one traded commodity in the world after oil. I find that all fascinating.

What about the process of creating a great coffee…
I’m interested in the whole process, from farmer to cup. I feel it’s really important to try and express what the farmer was trying to achieve with all their hard work. Rightly so, farmers are now getting more respect from the industry and our customers, it’s essential to bring out the best in their beans, people can do bad things to coffee! I’m also really interested in the science behind coffee, I’m still completing my engineering degree, so maybe that’s why.

Why the move back to Wellington this year?
I’m from Wellington, I grew up in Lower Hutt and went to Wellington College, although my family moved for work also so I also lived in Belgium, Malaysia and Australia (Canberra) as a child. I’ve moved back home with my Australian fiancé to be closer to my family and to buy a house here. I’d also like to run my own café or bar one day.