What do Bailey Nelson, coffee and country-wide road trips have in common? Well, thanks to New Zealand-based Atomic Coffee Roasters, we’re playing a part in their upcoming Winter Tour from Auckland to Queenstown.
Atomic has been a pioneer in the world of coffee for 25 years, offering much more than your average company. As well as several cafés scattered around Auckland, they boast a range of blends, espresso and latte art classes, and equipment for making the perfect cup of joe.
In collaboration with Juicy Car Rentals, the Winter Tour is a two-week long voyage, ending on June 25 at Queenstown Winter Festival with ‘throwdowns’ in Christchurch, Nelson and Dunedin along the way. Plus, there are also a bunch of great prizes up for grabs, including some BN specs or sunnies! Keep your eye on their Instagram at @atomiccoffeeroasters to follow the journey and find out how to get involved.
We had a chat with Sam Harvey, General Manager of Atomic about the upcoming tour, their plans for the rest of the year, and what exactly makes a quality coffee.
Firstly, tell me how you found yourself at Atomic Coffee?
I fell in to coffee. I had been in-between the British Virgin Island and NYC for 7 years running an adventure tourism company. I made the move back to NZ, worked in recruitment for 3 painful months, then saw Atomic advertising for a Sales Rep. Applied, got the job, was Sales Manager within 2 years, and General Manager Australia/NZ within 3. A bloody whirlwind!
What does an average day look like for you?
There’s no average day as a GM. You coach staff, you set strategy, you meet, greet, shake hands, kiss babies. It’s full noise, full time. No rest for the wicked.
So you're heading off on a road trip soon! What's the plan for the Winter Tour? And where did this idea come from?
We’ve been on the road before, and it’s our way of getting out I the community, spreading some cheer and running some bloody brilliant events. The events reach the coffee community, but the tour and the giveaways reach much larger than that. It’s all about doing stuff, rather than owning stuff. Coz, let’s be honest, that’s way better.
What are you hoping to achieve for Atomic with the Winter Tour?
Fame and fortune. Haha. Nah, really, we’re out to continue to show people, that we’re f’in fun. We do things in an interesting way, and engage with our audience while we’re at it. Then, hopefully they fall in love with Atomic as much as we are, and jump on the crazy train!
What are some of your passions outside of Atomic and the world of coffee?
At the moment, I have my head in books as I work toward an MBA, I have a real passion for learning and bettering myself constantly. I love to surf when my ageing body allows it, sing a bit, and I also run a not-for-profit called No Beers? Who Cares. We’re all about showing the people of today, that being sober is the new black and saying no to booze is ok.
Looking through your website, there seems to be a lot more to making good espresso than many people might think! In your opinion, what's the key to a great cup of coffee?
Training, training, training. People should never stop learning, Baristas are no exception. They need to learn about the coffee they’re using, how it extracts, how to speak about it and how to make it taste good.
What other plans do Atomic have in store for the rest of 2017?
A LOT!! Its our 25th birthday, so we’re doing a bunch of activations around Auckland (secret at the mo!), we’re designing some epic coffee merch and we’re having a damn big party at the end of it all, to celebrate our 25th in style!
Lastly, and you're probably sick of being asked this, but I'm curious. What's your favourite coffee...and do you ever take sugar?
No sugar. Our coffee doesn’t need it. I’m a long black with cream guy.
Photography by Emily Powell