TAMWORTH barista-turned-businessman Nico Andrigo says the support from the community has been amazing since taking over the reins at The Bean and Barista.
Just two weeks into his run as owner of The Bean and Barista on Marius St, Mr Andrigo said it had always been a goal of his to own a coffee shop.
“I left Italy in 2010 and I first arrived here in Australia with the idea of opening a coffee shop,” he said.
“I worked my way through, I did my diploma in hospitality in Tamworth TAFE, then I did a sponsorship visa with Addimi.
“Then I finally got my citizenship, moved to Melbourne and got a bit more experience and now I’ve come back, hopefully ready to do it.”
Mr Andrigo said it was a big step up into running a business, but that so far “it’s going fantastically”.
Compared with his experience working in cafes in Italy, Mr Andrigo said the coffee culture in Tamworth was completely different to his homeland.
“Back home, we just drink black coffee – short black, long black – there’s not much milk in it. Here it’s all about milk. It all starts in Italy, but here is much better, because you get to work with it and it’s a bit more creative,” he said.
Mr Andrigo said from his experience, the cappuccino was Tamworth’s favourite coffee, but he says he recognises most people in town by their preferred brew.
“I’m not very good with names, but I’ve got a very good memory and I can look at a person and say ‘cappuccino’ and I actually remember the number of sugars they have,” he said.
“It’s bad because they all know me, because there are not many Nicos around.”
Mr Andrigo said better coffee and a good location had set him apart from other cafes in town.
“I’d say it’s one of the best, and the position, it’s got this early-morning market between seven and 10 o’clock. I’m doing about 200 or 300 coffees just in those hours,” he said.
Food is the next frontier for Mr Andrigo, who said he wanted to include hot Italian dishes on the menu, “if it ever cools down”.