Words Maura Mancini
The aroma of espresso was a familiar comfort back in my home country Italy, but it wasn’t until I set foot in Australia’s Port Douglas that my coffee journey truly began. It’s where I crossed paths with Neo, a barista with a passion that spills into every cup. That sip of coffee held more than just flavour; it held a piece of Neo’s heart and the essence of what is also known in the coffee world as the “Gift From God”.
In the picturesque town of Port Douglas, where the tropical breeze carries the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, a unique coffee culture thrives. From the bustling main street to the tranquil waterfront, cafes and coffee shops dot the landscape, each offering a unique experience for coffee enthusiasts. Among them, Café Origin Espresso stands out not only for its exceptional coffee but also for the passionate barista behind the scene - Neo.
The coffee journey that spans continents to reach Port Douglas
At first a means of livelihood back in Korea more than a decade ago, little did Neo know that his humble start in the coffee world would lead him to become one of Port Douglas’s most dedicated baristas. After Neo and his wife Lucy visited several places across Australia, Port Douglas captured their hearts like no other. The serenity of the place, the rustling coconut palms, and the sun-kissed beaches cast an irresistible spell, drawing them to settle here. It was in Port Douglas that Neo encountered Glenn, the previous coffee master of Origin Cafe, who introduced him to the Australian way of crafting coffee. At the onset of his barista journey in Port Douglas, Neo encountered scepticism from many who doubted a young Korean like him could master the art of creating the perfect flat white - a quintessential Australian invention (sometimes credited to New Zealand). Amidst the hesitation, Neo’s dedication shone.