When beans are your business: 7 questions with a Coffee Trader

Nic Michaelides a Coffee Trader and the Vice President of the Australian Specialty Coffee Association, will blind taste and judge many coffees next week at the RASV Australian International Coffee Awards.

We asked Nic for his industry insights for the regular coffee drinker.

Explain what a coffee roaster does?

A coffee roaster turns green beans to brown.

What challenges do roasters face?

The biggest challenges roasters face are coffee pricing, availability and consistency. We work to ensure that the consumer appreciates the final product.

How do you find specialty coffee beans for roasting?

In my current employment, I source green beans, both specialty and commercial grade, from around the world. I work alongside numerous coffee roasters to provide them with quality green beans.

Why is it important to know where your coffee comes from?

Coffee has its own uniqueness that is dependent on the country and region from where it was sourced. Roasters need to be aware of its origin so they can roast accordingly and determine if the coffee is suitable for single origin or can be part of a blend.

What’s next for the coffee industry?

I believe there will be greater transparency and sustainable trading with producers. The industry is moving towards fostering closer relationships and functional partnerships between the growers, those who source the product and the roasters.

Favourite brew?

I appreciate coffee brewed in many different methods, but I particularly enjoy a robust balanced espresso to the subtle nuances of a pour over. I always pack an Aeropress and Rhino hand grinder when travelling. I really enjoy drinking coffee surrounded by coffee trees and mountains on an origin trip.

Favourite coffee?

I get this question quite a lot. From a clean and sweet central, to a funky and interesting Asian to a complex fruity east African. I like coffee from each corner of the earth for its distinct, unique and differential tasting profiles


Nic has been in the coffee industry for 15 years starting with his first café in 2003 and opening subsequent cafes in Torquay and Geelong. He moved out of the café scene in 2015 and had a brief sabbatical which then led him to an employment opportunity at FTA Coffee as a Coffee Trader and Quality Control. Nic is currently the Vice President of the Australian Specialty Coffee Association.

Nic Michaelides