Aaron was 14 when he had his first espresso in New Zealand, and it was like he made a vow to dedicate his life to coffee with that first sip. It was much like an initiation, where he felt he suddenly belonged to a tribe bound by unspoken laws. Eager to saturate his soul in coffee, he applied for a roasters job at the age of 19, but was declined due to him being “too young”. This didn’t deter Aaron. He pushed on; absorbed as much knowledge as he could from reading materials and visits to local cafes and roasters. Then, he finally managed to get a break at ‘Atomic’, a roaster based in Auckland. Craving knowledge and experience, Aaron would arrive at work early, stay back late to clean flues, empty chaff, weigh greens, and do the general cleaning in the roastery. He would absorb as much information as coffee, and was always open to sharing ideas and discovering new trends in the industry.
His journey then took him to Melbourne, where he landed a job at ‘Seven Seeds’. Working there allowed Aaron to travel to ‘Origin’, meet some incredibly influential individuals around the globe, and cup an array of coffees with fellow professionals dedicated to the endless quest for a better understanding those small brown beans.
For Aaron, cupping coffee is like communion; it’s a moment to share something very special with others.
“Coffee is like wine in some parts of the world… it’s a powerful elixir with religious and mystical undertones…..But it’s also a hot drink that is enjoyed by so many different people from so many different cultures”.
Like many of us, Aaron loves the fact that coffee has the power to bring people together, and he sees cafes as a space where one can safely escape the world.
He recently set up his own roastery, ‘The Wood and Co’, situated in a shared space in the backstreets of Brunswick. There is a café at the front of the building called Kines, which is owned by Keeden Harvey. Keeden is dedicated to sourcing great local products, and has created a chilled out space which serves as a local hub for culture, and socialising. At the rear of the building, Aaron is at the helm of the Probat GE12. This 3 decade old machine spent most of its life in a Viennese café. Driven by a desire to be as consistent as humanly possible, soon after acquiring the Probat GE12, Aaron had it retro fitted with a modern fuel efficient burner package and highly accurate gas controls.
Coffee is meticulously sourced, and must pass a Quality Control process prior to purchasing. Specific Profiles are then developed for each lot, which is based on moisture content, density, varietal, and mode of processing (Whether it be natural, or washed etc). Once a coffee’s ideal profile is determined, it is recorded, so to allow for repeatable roastings to take place – based on a specific quality. Aaron emphasised, “We don’t believe that any coffee’s quality can be increased in the roastery, meaning that all the hard work has been done first by nature and then by the hands at Origin that have cared for this coffee. We are merely roasting it to retain all of its natural attributes”. ‘Wood and Co’ humbly make quality coffee available for everyone, and are compelled by the need to share knowledge by way of taste. After all, consuming coffee is a sensual experience – the array of aromas and flavours attributed to it evokes a multitude of emotions and memories. For ‘Wood and Co’, their intentions are to make that memory positive, and the experience enjoyable.