As our teams return to the workplace, we caught up with Miguel Camara to find out what he’s most looking forward to in his new role as head of tea and coffee and how he sees the coffee industry changing in the future post-Covid.
What’s your background in hospitality?
My career in hospitality started in 2012 when I joined BaxterStorey as a casual employee, to support with Christmas lunches. I did a little bit of everything, from sandwich making and making coffee, to helping with lunch service. This led to me taking on a permanent role as a barista in one of BaxterStorey’s flagship locations, where I was able to develop my barista skills further. It was then that I started competing in local competitions (not that I did very well!) but that never stopped me from trying and wanting to develop myself to get better.
Prior to the pandemic, I had a wonderful five years successfully managing a catering coffee brand from its beginnings, which led to me re-joining the BaxterStorey family as head of tea and coffee – a role I’m excited to get stuck right into!
Tell us a typical day in the life of yourself.
Like most of us in hospitality, I start early! My morning consists of responding to any emails and getting involved in lots of exciting coffee projects that we’ve got in the pipeline. As I’m relatively new to BaxterStorey, I tend to arrange a different site visit each week to meet the team and learn more about their coffee offer. I’m also working on some coffee brand development and training, which I’m really enjoying. Client meetings and sales presentations are also a part of my role, so I get involved in those when I’m needed!
What’s the best part about your job?
Helping develop our teams to be the best they can be! I love having the opportunity to teach people about the wonderful world of coffee, and teaching them the skills they need to deliver great customer service and a delicious cup of coffee.
What are you looking forward to most in your new role across WSH?
I am looking forward to learning more about working in a larger organisation but also how I can best support each company under the WSH umbrella to take hot beverages to the next level. I’m also very excited to be taking BaxterStorey’s coffee brands, Coffee Society and Down to Earth, under my wing. Watch this space!
How do you see the coffee industry changing in the future, post-COVID?
It’s always hard to predict where the coffee industry is going to go, especially after the hard year we’ve had. I think the numerous lockdowns and transition to normality has enabled consumers to get closer to independents and their local coffee shops. There has been a huge growth in independents inside and outside of London, because they were best positioned to adapt to the circumstances. Who knows what the future holds!
What does this mean for our business?
As we keep engaging with our clients as we begin to build back better, we can see there is an appetite for change. People want to connect with what we do and know more about the meaning behind why we do it.
One thing is for sure, competition is getting tougher out there and we can expect our clients to be focusing on speed of service, click & collect and potential delivery to floors as we go forward. It is important we share our learnings from trials carried out during last year’s return to work so we can evolve. If we collaborate and work together, we will be stronger than ever.
What’s your favourite thing to do in your home town?
My favourite ritual back home is sitting by the sea drinking local beer and eating seafood with local garlic bread (bolo do caco) with the sun shining over, priceless! Every time I think about my happy place that is what comes to mind.
And of course, we must ask you – what is your favourite coffee?
I don’t have a favourite, I think! I do prefer lightly roasted, African high grown arabica beans. Coffee is so subjective and not an exact science but with every coffee you should be able to achieve its sweet and balanced spot if roasted to be that way. During lockdown I’ve tried some different processing methods like anaerobic fermented coffee which blew my socks off! In 2015 fermenting coffee was a sin…
The best memory I have drinking coffee was at Origin in Nicaragua. They don’t brew it the way you would expect after attending a Professional SCA Brewing course, but it was very delicious!