Name: Mark Williamson
Role at Machina: Making the beans brown and occasionally making hot drinks.
At Machina, you will normally find me... Making coffee for the office or stealing Steve’s bagels.
To me, coffee is... Frustrating but ultimately very rewarding.
What is your go-to coffee? Espresso and a pour over. I feel that drinking both of these in a coffee shop gives you a good indication of both coffee quality and the skill of the barista across their range.
What kit do you use to make coffee at home? Kalita Wave and a Hausgrind. I find Kalita Wave to be the most consistent pour over brewer. The Hausgrind/Feldgrind line of grinders are incredible- they give a grind consistency close to that of an EK43, which is over ten times the price.
Best coffee experience ever: My first time at The Barn about 6 years ago. I’d never tasted an amazing Kenyan espresso before so this stands out for me.
Worst coffee experience ever: A Costa “cortado” at a motorway service station. It had notes of battery acid, stale tobacco and abject misery.
What's the biggest cafe no-no in your opinion? It really annoys me when speciality shops try to "educate" their customers. So often you'll hear a barista scold someone for putting milk or sugar in their coffee. Your customers are there for a coffee, not a science lesson with a side order of snark. I feel this attitude from certain shops is the reason many people have an issue with speciality coffee. Some customers want to hear you wax lyrical about varietals and processing- others just want a hot drink. Both types of customer are equally valuable to your business and no one should ever feel stupid or patronised because of their choice of beverage.
How did you end up working in coffee? I failed to get a degree…
Out of 10 how much of a coffee geek are you? Probably about an 8.
Top coffee tip: There is no x in espresso.
Most underrated hot beverage in your humble opinion: Mulled Buckfast.
What do you like to do when you're not drinking coffee? I’m really into films and music so I'm often at the cinema or at gigs.
What albums are in your current rotation? Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked At Me
British Sea Power - Let The Dancers Inherit The Earth
Talaboman - The Night Land
and The Field - From Here We Go Sublime, always....
Guiltiest pleasure: The very occasional Caramel Frappucino.