My Indissoluble Bond with Coffee

My Indissoluble Bond with Coffee

There have been a few encounters with coffee in my life, but I would never have imagined that it would have such an impact that it turned my life around. Hi! I am Adam Wang and I run a specialty coffee shop in Brisbane named Coffee Anthology.

Childhood experience with coffee back home in Taiwan

My first encounter with coffee can be traced back to my childhood, where specialty coffee was not easy to find. The majority of coffee shops out there were only serving black coffee from commercial graded or over-roasted beans. I remember attempting to try the coffee out when I was little but it was just full of bitter, roasty flavour that I struggled to put in my mouth. I saw people adding ridiculous amounts of sugar and creamer to neturalise the bad flavour. But I was reluctant to do the same so I soon learned not to try any more of those coffees.

Coffee in Australia

After moving to Australia as a university freshman, I had to catch the bus to university every day. It so happened that near my bus stop there was a popular café. Every morning I saw lines of people waiting for their coffee and the satisfaction that showed on their faces after taking the first sip. I guess it must have been their happy faces that gave me the courage to try out coffee once more. Unlike the coffee from Taiwan, I found most of the coffee in Australia was milk based, where the sweetness and creaminess of the milk played a large role in enhancing the overall taste of the coffee. It made it a lot easier to adapt to the taste of coffee compared to the black coffee back home. But up until this point in time, I still couldn't say I was drinking coffee for the love of it. no, it was more like a morning wake-me-up from a late night of studying.

The turning point

After years of studying and countless cups of coffee, I finally graduated from university with a Construction Management and Property Economic degree. I then started my working life of 6 days a week. It was a tough period for me and my newly-wed wife; I was literally spending no time with her due to my heavy workload. It was not too long until the balance of work and life start to break apart. I couldn’t see the future or where I was heading. I decided to have a chat with my wife what we can do to change this. We decided on taking a coffee making course where we can spend time doing things together as well as in hopes that it would open to a future opportunity. The class was rather simple, with around 20 of us sitting and watching a short video. Then, we were off to our own machines, practicing in pairs. Both my wife and I had a great time making coffee and saw this as possibility to a happier, balanced life.

Starting work as a Barista

In 2008, I found my first coffee job within one of the biggest coffee franchises; it was Gloria Jean's where I began my journey in the coffee industry. There, I was given set "Stand Operating Procedures" on takeaway coffee-making and extraction was an unquestionable mythology. It wasn’t long before there seemed like nothing else could be learned (there was nothing more to be taught to me) and I found myself searching, trying to learn more about the coffee industry. I then started working with Shingle Inn in 2009 where I began to learn and become involved with the importance of have-in coffee presentation and latte-art. Here, I was given the opportunity to improve my latte-art skills but extraction still continued to remain a myth. From then, I became determined to work in every major coffee franchise in Brisbane so I could learn as much as possible. Not long after that, in late 2009, I was working at The Coffee Club where I also started to discover online articles related to coffee making and specialty coffee.
Specialty Coffee in Queensland

2009 and 2010 were big years for the Brisbane specialty coffee scene. With Campos Coffee and Veneziano Coffee arriving in Queensland in 2009 and the opening of Cup Specialty Coffee and Dandelion & Driftwood in 2010. That same year, social media coffee review site Beanhunter was also introduced to the eye of the Brisbane coffee scene. The term “Specialty Coffee” definitely became more and more popular in the Barista world. The coffee experience in specialty cafes was definitely a lot different to that of franchise cafés. Wider ranges of coffee beans were offered with much better transparency and barista (in specialty cafés) were genuinely interested in talking to you about the origin and tasting note of the different coffees. It opened up a new world of coffee to me and at the same time showed me my limited knowledge in coffee. I was inspired by the specialty coffee industry and became truly passionate about coffee. Coffee was no longer just a job to me, it became my life.

Learning My Way Up To Specialty Coffee

Although I couldn't find my way into the specialty coffee scene straight away, I started working with Merlo Coffee in 2011, managing their company store at domestic airport and Cooparoo Torrefazione. While working with Merlo Coffee I gained much more knowledge about coffee roasting and its effect on flavour, as well as alternative brewing methods and coffee equipment. That same year I also took a roasting course provided by Wolff Coffee Roaster where we were introduced to the science behind coffee roasting.

Working in Specialty coffee

Late 2012 is the year I started working in the specialty coffee industry, where I longed to learn as much as possible and apply my knowledge into my work. I helped set up two specialty coffee shops where my job was to construct training menus and apply them to daily operations. I had the opportunity to work with many great coffee roasters in Brisbane, learning more about the art of coffee extraction and experimenting with different roasting styles. I was involved with working on different espresso machines and brew equipment, where I had to calibrate the machine and grinder in order to work with coffee from different roasters. It was definitely an exciting moment where I was pushing the boundaries of what I knew and absorbing as much new technique as possible.

Coffee Anthology on drawing board

While helping someone else fulfil their dream of opening a specialty coffee shop. My eagerness to open my own also grew. In 2013, I started to put my thoughts together and gather my café experience as a blueprint to what would be my ideal coffee shop. Over the last few years of working as Barista, I have visited many different cafés frequently, both in Brisbane and other states. There were so many great things and coffee I had experienced that I wanted my customers to also enjoy. With that idea in mind, I decided to have a coffee shop where you could enjoy different coffee experiences with the convenience of one location. By bringing together different coffee beans from great roasters around Australia, my customers would be able to enjoy coffee from different origins as well as experience the individual personalities and characteristics of the coffee roaster.

Where we are today

The opening of Coffee Anthology on the 7th of July, 2014 was a significant moment in my life. I was no longer working for someone to fulfil their dreams, but instead, I was working to fulfill my own. At Coffee Anthology, we offer 3 espresso based coffee at all times and varieties of filter coffee in alternative brewing methods. We are consistently striving to provide customers the best possible drop that we can achieve, taking our extraction to the extra detail of seconds vs grams with minimum tolerance to error. With all the effort that we put into Coffee Anthology, we were very quickly becoming recognised as one of the best coffe shop in Brisbane somewhere customers and baristas could come for coffee and share their experiences. I am so grateful for the support from our customers and this industry. It’s a lovely industry where everyone encourages each other and works together to bring better coffee to Brisbane.

Where we are heading

We are currently planning to expand in a new venture, where the same consistent quality and culture will be presented. We are so excited to share the love of coffee with everyone.
We hope to see you soon and remember to drop by and say “hi” when you visit Brisbane. Thanks for reading about my coffee journey, Adam.

Coffee Anthology
126 Margaret St
Brisbane QLD 4000