Sprudge.com is first to report the impending debut of Matt Perger Coffee (www.mattperger.com), a new eponymous web publication from two-time Australian Barista Champion, World Barista Championship silver medalist and World Brewers Cup champion Matthew Perger. The website is currently still password protected; it goes live next Monday, January 20th in North America, and Tuesday, January 21st in Australia.
Mr. Perger is closely associated with the St. Ali Family, a buzzy concern of Melbourne and Sydney cafes that include multiple Sensory Lab and St. Ali locations. Perger has served coffee alongside notable baristas at the TED Conference in Long Beach California, and he travels the world extolling the values of the Mahlkonig EK-43 coffee grinder, particularly its ability to produce a unique brewed coffee through an espresso machine. This brewed coffee – known in current speciality coffee parlance as a “Coffee Shot” – was Mr. Perger’s signature beverage at last year’s World Barista Championship in Melbourne, at which he placed second.
Sprudge.com spoke exclusively to Mr. Perger on the launch of his new website, MattPerger.com.
What are your goals with this project?
Simple. I want a barista/roaster/anyone to read an article, fully understand the content, and use that information to make better coffee.
I’d love for this website to hold a candle to Jimseven.com. James [Hoffmann, that website’s author] has inspired, tutored and (positively) frustrated so many people with that blog, and it’s an asset for the industry. If a coffee person thinks of my site an asset for his/her work, then I’ll be stoked!
What do you feel it will let you accomplish you couldn’t have done otherwise? Why blogging?
It’s really hard to show the rest of the world what you’re up to, and Twitter is more than a few characters too short to explain big ideas. With my own website I can start to stretch my wings and discuss complex ideas with an international audience. I’ve never been able to do that before; it’s both liberating and scary.
How do you view the relationship between what you blog and where you work?
I live and breathe the St Ali Family, so this definitely isn’t just a ‘Matt Perger’ affair. I work within a team of incredibly intelligent people who are making important discoveries almost daily. MattPerger.com will be a platform for that work with content written by me, my colleagues, and others close to us in the industry. My job includes some incredibly rich learning opportunities (travel, competition, working with manufacturers etc.) and I think it’s a waste if my work doesn’t play a large part in this website.
How hard has this project been to develop?
The website/domain etc. was a piece of cake and it’s a very simple site. The content, however, has taken 10x longer to write than I expected. It’s a different ball game when I know that anyone can read it. I keep asking myself, ‘what if Vince Fedele reads that?’ or ‘how will Roaster X react to my criticism of a method they use?’. That’s the hardest part; writing with a voice that’s authoritative but also positive and contributing.
Are you trying to target professionals specifically, or enthusiasts of all types?
The initial content is all pretty heavy professional-grade stuff, but that doesn’t mean it’s only for professionals. I’m trying to write everything so that a 14-year-old could understand it, so I don’t see why enthusiasts and even consumers can’t benefit. The first 3 articles about the Mahlkonig EK43 are 4500 words so the limiting factor will likely be attention span.
Do you think that distinction even matters?
There is definitely a distinction between the two, but that gap is closing. Professionals aren’t improving at a rate that enthusiasts can’t keep up with. I’m constantly reading Twitter conversations between home baristas that exceed the knowledge of many professionals. Maybe this website will help close that gap even more?
Independent research, scientific research, and academic research seem to all be separated online – do you hope to glue them all together? Do you see that changing?
The age-old tenet of ‘trust, but verify’ has generated a vast body of knowledge that changed the world. I’m excited to start contributing, and welcome the ‘verify’ step with open arms. Most of my work comes from a small sample pool and is influenced by my preferences, so it’s hardly scientific research. But if I can use any combination of research methods to publish an article that improves coffee quality, I’ll do it. There’s always risks when combining these types of research, but I imagine that this website could one day bridge the scientific and independent camps.
How have you personally acquired the knowledge you have? Are blogs a big part of that for you?
In my 5 years of specialty coffee, my knowledge sources have slowly but surely been turning inward. As I mentioned before, Jimseven.com was a big part of my initial coffee learnings. After that I learnt an incredible amount of things on-the-job in my various roles. These days, I find my close professional network to be much richer and dynamic than any blog. Talking to people like Vince Fedele, Ben Kaminsky [a noted speciality coffee consultant], Anthony Benda [Café Myriade] and the crew within the St Ali Family is what makes my mind really tick.