Currently the head of Australian Roasters Guild, Q-grader, and former three-time Australian Barista Champion — Craig Simon’s Criteria Coffee.
Craig’s had quite the career, both in and out of coffee, and both are just as impressive. Prior to the latter, Craig travelled the world as a jazz percussionist alongside one of music’s greats’, James Morrison.
But the Australian music industry is tough and having found himself in financial hardship on more than one occasion, he took on his first job as a barista.
And you can guess the rest. Twelve years at Veneziano Coffee Roasters proved plenty for Craig to master his craft and excel. Craig became Australia’s first ever qualified Q-grade instructor, a WBC judge, SCAA’s Lead Instructor, and won the Australian Barista Championships three times.
Over the years he’s worked in just about every facet of the industry including green bean buying, production, sourcing coffee at origin, and of course roasting.
There’s something synonymous with the environment in which people surround themselves in and the life choices they make, so it was no coincidence that the former professional jazz drummer would wind up roasting coffee inside a drum.
Craig now imparts his wisdom to the new generation of coffee entrepreneurs through training, guidance and mentoring at Criteria Coffee; a collaborative roasting communal in Melbourne.
Criteria is all about empowering individuals by facilitating an environment in which they can realise their own coffee journey.
Craig also sells coffee under his brand Criteria Coffee by Craig, which you can sample by purchasing a bag from their online store.
We’re really proud of our Australian coffee ambassadors, and very fortunate to be part of the culture. It’s people like Craig that contribute so much to the growth of our industry, and our understanding of what specialty coffee is, and what it means to people.
Thank you Craig.
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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