Nicole Webb, 22, is our home-grown Brisbane team member. She doesn't know how she knew about the Cafe Internship but she did and that's all that matters!
What was life for you before TMPC?
Last year I completed the first year of my Bachelor of Secondary Education, after two years as a receptionist with a corporate real estate company in the city. What this means is that I would go from a fancy city office one day to fervently discussing educational pedagogy, then to acting like a bird (or shape, why not) and writing program code the next (my content areas were Drama & Computer Education). Thus, my weeks consisted of a few days of uni, two days of work and a lot of catch ups & exploring. 2015 was a significant year for me in many ways, a lot of things were put into perspective which in turn (intern, heh) started opening doors to this internship. Definitely the boldest step I’ve ever taken!
On a normal day how many cups of coffee do you drink?
Define normal! Normal for me can be 8 hours of sleep with 2 cups of coffee or 5-6 hours of sleep with 4 cups (eek!). I just love the experience of getting a coffee, so sometimes that gets a bit unruly and rational Nicole takes a hike in regards to 'how much coffee is too much'. Coffee consumption for me is a constant ebb and flow but as I'm forced to make mature decisions in life (snore) I am beginning to convince myself 1 on a 'normal' day should suffice.
Have you picked up any barista "quirks" since participating in this internship?
I find much enjoyment in quickly spinning the group handle back around after I have tapped the old grinds out. Makes me feel like a total coolie. Our towel for the group baskets hangs near the milk fridge so I quickly spin that back into itself and I find that fun as well. So I guess those are quirks? If you watch me work I pick up a lot of little processes to be as efficient and effective as possible. I don't think any of this is easy to understand, aside from how easily amused I am. So to actually answer the question: Yes!
What is the coffee culture like in your city/town, and how has that shaped your opinion of coffee?
Brisbane is no coffee capital, that’s for sure, but that doesn’t stop it from being on point! Coffee craft is certainly coming up, as is the prestige of specialty coffee roasters and brewers. More and more independent roasters are on the scene. We were in Melbourne recently, as part of the internship - we went to a coffee cupping there and that was certainly not like anything I had experienced in Brisbane! But we have some award-winning cafes emerging here and I think it is exciting. Cafes know they have to bring it if they want to make a notch on the surface of the cafe industry. I personally love seeing the inventiveness of each new cafe that pops up. But at the end of the day, when you walk into a cafe you want to find the equilibrium of good service, good coffee and a good vibe and I think we have that in plenty in Brisbane.
What is your favourite cafe in Brisbane and why?
As aforementioned, I'm all about vibe & experience, not just quality of coffee. In my constant exploring of Brisbane city I have been to many a bar & cafe, so my list of criteria is pretty extensive (get your lightning right, people!). One that gets many more ticks than crosses is Three Monkeys. It was the 'in thing' for sometime, but I just waited until people jumped on some other band wagon and then was able to appreciate it. Good vibe, product & opening hours. Plus West End is mint. I have such a heart for Brisbane, for those who think there's nothing going on, that's a total myth. Brisbane is a puzzle and you've got to seek it out, but that makes it so much more worthwhile!
What is the first place you check out in a new country or city?
My favourite thing to do is to go to a grocery store and the local maccas! Tourist spots are just an augmented reality of the place you're visiting. I like to see people's norm. These two things are just such underrated norms and I like to see the differences from what I know to be normal. These companies know their demographic and play to their strengths - which breeds such diversity from store to store! Independent grocers are fun too ‘cause they have all the random, independent lines you don't see anywhere else. I have a bad habit of going to a new IGA and purchasing the most unusual product I can find. (Here's a game: if you're ever in a store and think “when would anyone ever buy that” - buy it!)
What is your favourite coffee-accompanying activity?
Look, not many people know this about me but... I love talking! #shockandhorror. An article I read talked about words that don’t have a direct English translation and one of those was ‘sobremesa’, the extended conversation shared at the conclusion of the meal. I feel like that sums up my favourite coffee-accompanying activity… half because I inhale my drink because I am so excited about it, so conversation after is what fills the time! However, I often find myself at cafes alone more than with people and then I love to find the cafe’s magazine table and find an interesting zine about health or what’s on in the local area. Free publications are such a treat!
What is one thing you learned during your internship that you plan on implementing in your future?
Time and money are enablers & transparency is key! I am quite interested by offsetting the imbalance of wealth distribution in the world as well as how each person can contribute to aide, despite their economic position. If you have no finance, help with your time. If you have no time, help with your finances. That is super black and white but it's a foundational concept. I am, in particular, focussed about non-profit businesses. But I know that any business, regardless of their structure or mission statement, has the ability to enable change. Our time on Melbourne, meeting with Thank You company and other non-profits - really drove home that it is the transparency in fund distribution, goals and passions that enables people to venture forth in the social project together. Transparency is a result of and we all know the age old adage ‘Communication is key.’ It is so true - unlock the door to your potential! #inspoquotes
What is next for you after the completion of the internship?
I am currently looking into my options for the second half of 2016. I definitely want to finish my Secondary Education degree however I intend to resume this in 2017. 2016 is an adventure year, filled with new revelations and lessons (despite how reluctant I am about some). I look forward to hitting the ground running next year but for now I want to intentionally grow as much I can and use my time to enable others to do their heart’s work. And stay on at the cafe of course! Come drink my coffee, yo!
Do you have any advice for someone considering doing this internship?
Yes - take the step! If you feel like you want to do it but you're letting your ‘rational thinking’ or someone’s dictation on what you should be doing stand in the way, then just kick that out of the room. I was umming and ahhing before applying because I was too focused on what I was ‘meant’ to be doing with my life. This is one of the best decisions I have made and boy I have grown a lot through it (as an employee and as a person)! Get over the ‘not the right time’, ‘not enough money’ excuses and just follow your calling. It will definitely work out in the end if you take the appropriate steps. (But, ya know, bring your A game ‘cause we’ve set the bar pretty high ;) ). I look forward to meeting you when you're a fresh new intern!
If you are interested in learning more about The Meeting Place Café or our internship program, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to find out more!
What We're Listening To: The Love You're Given by Jack Garratt
What We're Drinking: Spanish Latte
A blog brought to you by the staff of The Meeting Place Cafe. Highlighting coffee and community both locally and abroad.