Sam Bright (Sammy to the team, we've got 3 Sams!) joined us at the Roastery back in January last year. A seasoned professional, having worked in the industry for the last 16 years, her initial role at Kōkako was to take care of all our customers orders and Auckland deliveries.
Not long after Sammy started our Head Roaster (also) Sam got word of her keenness to one day roast and he started paving the way for Sammy to start training. Fast forward a little and you'll now often find her roasting solo — with more responsibility in the pipeline as our second roaster Hannah is due to have a baby in October.
We had a quick chat to Sammy about the industry, her favourite coffee and asked her to share any tricks she's learnt for a smooth roast. Read on below.
With (our second roaster) Hannah's bun in the oven your road to roasting has been fast-tracked. What's been the most exciting part of the journey? And the toughest?
Sam (Kōkako's Head Roaster) gave me an opportunity of a lifetime and i'm loving it, I'm not taking it for granted. I owe him everything!
Do you have any top tips for smooth roasting?
Everyone adapts differently, you find your rhythm amongst the chaos of training. Top tip for beginners — keep organised. It helps you keep focused and learn to be adaptable. You never know what the day will throw at you, or what lesson Sam will have for you.
How do you enjoy coffee at home?
Most mornings we load up the Moccamaster. Filling up keep cups and coffee flasks for everyone.
Can you describe for us your favourite mug?
It's a well loved op shop ceramic - always on the hunt for 70s ceramics.
The best coffee you've ever had and why did you love it so much?
It was an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and it was my first single pour over during my travels and it blew my mind. I think that's where it all started.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry?
More inclusivity, the coffee industry is very insular - a bit too cool which unfortunately has a negative effect. Everyone is capable of learning a new craft. Encourage, you never know what someone is capable of until you give them a chance.
Sammy is also Mum to Pepper the pup, is at home by the sea and she drives the coolest sunshine yellow Ford Escort in town.