Estelle Bright (Photo courtesy Estelle Bright)
Estelle Bright (Photo courtesy Estelle Bright)

Welcome to The Sprudge Twenty Interviews presented by Pacific Barista Series. For a complete list of 2020 Sprudge Twenty honorees please visit sprudge.com/twenty.

“Estelle has been in the industry for 15 years, once an incredible barista pacing the way for the young baristas in the London scene today—she’s done everything from barista, trainer, coffee delivery driver and now heads up all things technical for La Marzocco UK.”

Nominated by James Stelling.

This interview has been lightly edited & condensed. 

What issue in coffee do you care about most?

Education from every level within the industry—from farm to baristas, roasters, and technicians, the list goes on…

What cause or element in coffee drives you?

Giving back to the community, I have been volunteering at the World Barista Championship and US competitions for over 10 years now. Being a part of this and supporting people within the industry.

What issue in coffee do you think is critically overlooked?

Education within the technical side of the industry.

What is the quality you like best about coffee?

The people. I've been so lucky to meet so many people in this industry, especially through volunteering at competitions.

Did you experience a life-changing moment of coffee revelation early in your career?

When I first started out in coffee I didn't actually like/drink coffee. Then in 2006 I was handed an espresso to taste; that was the moment I feel in love with coffee. The coffee was roasted by the wonderful Peter James at James Gourmet Coffee.

What is your idea of coffee happiness?

Weekend off, cup of coffee, and chilling with my cats.

If you could have any job in the coffee industry, what would it be and why?

I currently have my dream job, but I guess being more involved in R&D would be the dream.

Who are your coffee heroes?

Piero Bambi.

If you could drink coffee with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Johnny Cash. He is an artist I have loved since being a teenager. I never got to see him live, but thanks to being part of US Coffee Champs in Nashville in 2019, I did get to pay respects to him and June's grave.

If you didn't work in coffee what do you think you'd be doing instead?

Well, I studied to be an Interior Designer and that was always the plan… I still love to get involved in design and have helped a few cafes that have opened. So definitely interior design.

Do you have any coffee mentors?

Geez, too many too mention. Sam Hunt, who taught me how to make coffee back in 2005. Definitely Jess MacDonald, Gwilym Davies, and Dale Harris. These three were a few of the first people I met in the coffee industry and really helped me to be the coffee professional I am today. To still have their friendships 11 years later means everything to me.

What do you wish someone would've told you when you were first starting out in coffee?

It was so long ago and so different back then, But I guess, “Be careful, you'll fall in love.”

Name three coffee apparatuses you couldn't do without.

Linea Mini, grinder and Clever Dripper.

Best song to brew coffee to at the moment.

Black Eyed Peas – Mabuti

Where do you see yourself in 2040?

I have no idea… close to retirement I hope, and living out in the countryside!

What's your favorite coffee at the moment?

Mikava – Colombia

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted you personally and professionally?

Personally, COVID impacted me a lot. Thankfully I got to keep working from home during the lockdown here in UK, but living alone and not seeing a human I knew for over nine weeks. The hardest part for me is getting back to what we call as the “new normal” being around people and supporting the industry. Small steps…

Professionally it gave me the time to reflect and rethink how we do things here in UK within my job. Being able to support the technicians and get them back out and servicing the machines for the cafes wanting to reopen. Here in London it is still very slow, but I'm trying to stay positive about it all.

Thank you. 

The Sprudge Twenty Interviews are presented in partnership by Sprudge & Pacific Barista Series. For a complete list of 2020 Sprudge Twenty honorees and a complete interview archive, please visit sprudge.com/twenty.