From tasting his first Ethiopian – washed coffee to placing second in 2019’s Australian Northern regional World Aeropress Championship, Darren Meachem’s journey through coffee goes deep. This is his coffee story.
“Coffee really found me, I wasn’t looking.”
Taste and the sensory experience really paved the way for Darren Meachem’s coffee journey. Fueled by the curiosity of all things flavored, he’s painted such vivid memories of building his tasting palete through different food and drinks. Whether that was from “Greek coffees to get through university and work” or the varieties of food and drinks while living in Japan, Darren was always interested in understanding taste on a deeper level.
The passion for learning only grew, as he became a certified chef in Australia, and eventually joined a local coffee roaster to learn more about the coffee process.
“Starting in coffee was a journey through sensory exploration…”
Using the skills he learned as a chef really helped Darren navigate through the complexities and nuances of coffee. Darren eventually entered Australia’s Northern Regional World Aeropress Championship in 2019 just for fun, but ended up placing second overall. Through this competitive experience, Darren found a niche to accelerate his learning of coffee. Coffee competitions have evolved quickly and drastically within the last decade. Darren’s experience within the competitive space taught and challenged him in different ways, including revealing his passion to teach others, and encouraging people to experience their senses in a deeper way.
“Coffee paired with the right glass of water will dramatically change your experience…”
This eventually opened up opportunities for him to work with a green bean import company, and his curiosity for learning all things coffee was taken to another level. Hosting cupping events, volunteering for Australian SCA events, and entering the Brew’s Cup are a few mentionable coffee opportunities that Darren has been able to be a part of. Within these experiences, one thing stuck out to Darren, and that was water. In the way he was able to experience coffee and other foods with water, the wonder and fascination of it never went away. This led to Darren completing his water sommelier certification and becoming Australia’s first certified water sommelier.
Outside of coffee, Darren loves learning everything about the sensory experience. You can catch him hosting water tasting sessions on the weekends, helping local restaurants create fine water menus, and evolving the water experience in new and different ways.
“Whether it be water, food, sake or coffee, each is a connection to inspiration.”
One of the qualities that inspires Darren’s journey through coffee is the connection and experience it brings. Each layer of the coffee process brings a story – whether from the producers or the roasters, there’s always a story worth sharing. Being a previous volunteer for I’M NOT A BARISTA, Darren understands the importance of each story and is dedicated to sharing his own in various ways, such as participating in brewing competitions, recounting anecdotes at local cupping events, and discussing technical water analysis during water tasting events.