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(AU) Barista Steve just loves the daily grind

TAMWORTH barista Steve McCarthy almost needs to broadcast a warning with his coffee.

It's highly addictive. One cup and you're hooked.

At least, that's how it's been since Steve bought the Cafe2U franchise and began operations in Tamworth in January this year.

He believes the secret to the enticing flavour is the award-winning coffee beans.

In November last year, Cafe2U was awarded a bronze medal in the prestigious CSR Golden Bean Roasting Competition.

Held in Port Macquarie. the CSR Golden Bean Roasting Competition is the largest coffee roasting competition in the southern hemisphere and has been modelled on the success of the wine industry awards, where actual winemakers judge the quality of the products.

All the coffees presented were expertly prepared by some of the world's best baristas. From more than 1000 entries which came from across Australia and Asia. Cafe2U secured a bronze medal in the strongly-contested coffee chain category of the awards.

"Once people try it, they won't stop buy­ing it," Steve said. "You could say I'm a legal drug dealer."

Steve, who's originally from Glen Innes moved to Tamworth in January with wife Jayne and their two young boys, Logan 10 and five-year-old Troy. The tree-change was just what the doctor ordered for this couple determined not to raise their kids in the city.Jayne is enjoying country life and has secured some part time work with one of Steve's suppliers, Pura Milk. She's also kept fairly busy as a Mary Kay cosmetics business owner.

Born and raised in Glen Innes, Steve left the country in the early '80s to "see the world" - he joined the navy and spent the next 20 years serving on board ships. After leaving life at sea, he retained close ties with his former occupation as production manager for Thales, an elec­tronics systems company that, among other things, manufactures items for navy ships and combat vehicles.

He worked there for 10 years before it was suggested he take up a coffee fran­chise by the Cafe2U franchisee from St Marys who made daily visits to Steve's workplace. "As he called at work every day. we became friends and when I told him I was looking for a change of lifestyle, he suggested I might like to try my hand at being a barista in my own business." Steve said.

1 went along on his run with him, serviced the machines and got to know the way the business operated. It was a win-win situation because he got a $5000 tip for referring me to the compa­ny - and we got the lifestyle we wanted in the country.'"

Steve said lifestyle was the major fac­tor that drew him to the business and he hasn't regretted it for one minute since making the decision to leave Sydney. “I’m home when the kids get home from school and get to spend quality time with my family." he said, "We play cricket, go for bike rides, go down to the park - the normal, tradition­al family stuff. It's great. Jayne thinks it's awesome that I'm home early and can run the business from home."

When he began the business, Steve fully expected to put in 12 months of hard slog before turning over a profit. Just seven months down the track, he's already seeing a profit and looking to increase his run across Tamworth. Almost 80 per cent of his daily stops are in the Taminda area.  “You can't miss the distinctive bright red van. I’ve got other stops outside of Taminda but I have a few gaps that I'm hoping to fill," he said. The best way to arrange for Steve to call at your workplace is to either phone him or flag him down.

He'll then arrange a time for a daily visit, but won't do one-offs. "I find providing a dedicated daily service is the best way to operate. If I did one-offs I[ may disappoint my regular customers by arriving late and I don't want to do that." Steve said.

He said the most popular coffee he made was cappuccino, with caramel lattes running a close second. He also makes smoothies, frappes and offers hot and cold food. Most of his business comes from referrals from existing clients.  "Word just gets around. A lot of my customers have come to me from other customers, just because they reckon the coffee and the service I offer is good." he said.

So be warned. If you are game enough to try his coffee, you could become an addict. But hey…..what a delicious way to go.

Story from the Northern Daily Leader