WBC Countdown: Barista Champion of Ireland Colin Harmon


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Barista Mag:  Before coffee, did you work in a different job or industry, or what did you study in school?

Colin:  I studied Business and Law at University College Dublin before beginning a career in Financial Services. I lasted about 3 years before my love of coffee took over and I left to pursue a career in this industry. I haven’t looked back since!

BMag:  How did you get started in coffee?

Colin:  I initially bought an espresso machine for home use and began buying coffee on line from Hasbean. It started from there and accelerated quite quickly.

BMag:  What was your first amazing experience with coffee?

Colin:  Probably a Kenyan coffee called Gethumbwini. It was the first time I tasted coffee that didn’t taste like coffee, if that makes sense?

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BMag:  Who has been your greatest influence in coffee? Why?

Colin:  Undoubtedly Steve Leighton of Hasbean. He’s been a great friend to me over the years but also a really inspiring business partner. It’s a huge advantage for me to have him on the end of the phone whenever I’m stuck at a cross roads.

BMag:  What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?

Colin:  I’d like to see less smoke and mirrors and a bit more emphasis on quantifiable data and education. The coffee industry in Ireland has been built on the idea that people have the “gift” of coffee making, but it’s more about learning and applying your knowledge.

BMag:  Name a coffee luminary (famous person) you would like to meet, and why:

Colin:  I have a long list of farmers who’s coffee i buy that I’ve never met. I would like to fix that.

BMag:  Name a barista you admire, and why:

Colin:  Matt Perger the Australian Barista Champion. He’s achieved so much for someone so young and has a huge amount of knowledge to back it up.

BMag:  Do you have a favorite customer? If so, tell us about him or her.

Colin:  I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite, but my Dad comes in quite a lot so I better pick him.

BMag:  Besides your own cafe, what cafe do you think everyone should visit?

Colin:  I was really impressed by Coffee Mania in Moscow. It changed my understanding of what a coffee shop can be.

BMag:  Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?

Colin:  El Salvador. Most of my favorite coffees have come from there, specifically around Santa Ana so I’d love to get there this year.

BMag:  What are your interests outside of coffee?

Colin:  I have a baby boy Oscar who’s 10 months old in May so he occupies all my time outside of work. I’m hoping to get back into running too but I keep finding excuses.

BMag:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Colin:  Starting a new business in a non-coffee field but still being heavily involved in 3FE.

BMag:  Is there anyone you would like to thank or who helped you prepare for the WBC?

Colin:  My family and friends who won’t be with me at WBC for the first time ever. The round trip was just that bit too far but I’m sure they’ll be watching online.

About Sarah 932 Articles
Sarah Allen (she/her) is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.