‘Educating the mind without educating the heart, is no education at all’ – Aristotle.
If ever there was anyone in the coffee industry who understood the importance of education, Craig Simon is that person. He’s spent the past 15 years cultivating knowledge, applying it, teaching it, and as a result has been crowned Australia Barista Champion 3 times, was head of coffee at one of Melbourne’s prominent roasters, and Australia’s first qualified Q-Grade instructor.
Craig gained an appreciation for the accessibility and dissemination of knowledge while he was a professional musician, where he learnt the art of ‘paying it forward’, when it came to sharing knowledge. This was an idea fostered by his music mentors, who have an unspoken law that once their skills were mastered, they had the responsibility to pay it forward.
In a similar sense, Craig has begun a new chapter in his coffee career, and is making it his mission to keep the torch going, so to speak, with the future generation of coffee roasters. Criteria Coffee is a guided roastery for hire, coffee training and online coffee subscription. With Craig’s proven track record at not only brewing and roasting coffee, but sourcing green beans, and cultivating healthy relationships with key players around the globe, Craig holds an array of wisdom and vital knowledge.
His ability to educate the mind has been proven throughout his career as a Q-Grade instructor, barista trainer and coffee roaster, and now he has the opportunity to educate the hearts of many.
Criteria Coffee was founded on the belief that everyone with a passion to roast their own coffee, should be afforded the opportunity to do so. Based in Port Melbourne, Criteria Coffee aims to make Melbourne’s Coffee industry more knowledgeable and vibrant. Just as chefs have gone down the path of having their own micro farms, and making a connection from paddock to plate, café owners are now making a connection from green bean to cup. There’s an intangible passion and commitment to serving excellence when you put hard work and effort into something, and it’s this passion and heart that Craig is wanting to help coffee professionals and cafes ignite within.
‘I’d like to facilitate the next generation of coffee professionals to learn the skills, and also have a greater understanding of their product’.
It’s a unique approach tailored to each person, and has already proven fruitful for micro-roasters such as Nomadi.
The space offers a sample roaster, a 12kg Diedrich capable of roasting 2.5 tonnes per week, a warehouse for storage, a brewing facility which includes a state of the art modbar setup that removes all barriers to tasting coffee, and plans to add a wine cellar inspired climate control function to their green storage container.
Adding to the landscape of roasting for hire spaces in Australia, Craig aims to teach the science of roasting, and set the defining features of green sourcing, quality control, and working with beans to have them represent a roaster’s particular style and flavour.