Wake up to cool brew

Nigel Sheppard enjoying a cup of coffee at Rocksalt.
Nigel Sheppard enjoying a cup of coffee at Rocksalt. Brenda Strong

IF CRANE operator Nigel Sheppard skips his morning brew, his workmates sure know about it.

"The guys steer clear of me," he laughed.

"I get a bit grumbly."

Abstaining from coffee also has a physical effect on Nigel.

"I get headaches," he said.

Same goes for Mary Urquhart who makes Nigel's coffee for him at Gladstone's Rocksalt.

"Coffee gets me through the day!" she said.

Mary used to chuck back 10 cups of coffee.

She's recently cut back to just two a day.

She has hers strong. And if she's recovering from a night on the grog, a shot of vanilla flavouring gives Mary "a bit of a kick".

Nigel's perfect cuppa is "pretty simple".

"I have a flat white with one sugar. Too much sugar takes away the flavour."

The ideal coffee has "got plenty of flavour", Nigel said.

"There's nothing worse than a weak, watery coffee," he said.

Mary interjects here. She said many customers ask for their coffee extra hot.

But heating the milk too much burns it, giving the coffee a bitter taste, she said.

Nigel has his first caffeine hit about 5am. Between then and 8.30am he reckons he chucks back four coffees.

Only then is Nigel ready to really take on the day.

"I'm just starting to come good then," he said.

Nigel's son Regan, 9, wouldn't even hazard a guess at how many coffees his dad drinks in a day.

"I lose count!" he said.



Acidity: The lively, palate-cleansing property characteristic of washed coffee grown at a high altitude.

Complex: A coffee with an array of flavours, rather than one dominant taste.

Decaffeination: The process by which caffeine is removed from coffee.

Earthy: Most often used to describe a flavour found in Indonesian coffees. Earthy flavours remind people of fresh mushrooms. Sumatra is one of these coffees and is Starbucks' most popular single-origin offering.

Juicy: The mouth feel or sensation that makes you salivate.  




1. Smell

Our sense of taste is directly influenced by our sense of smell. When tasting a coffee, smell it first. Place your hand over your coffee mug or tasting cup. Hold the cup close to your nose and inhale. What do you notice? Describe the aroma.

2. Slurp

When tasting a coffee, it is important to slurp it. By slurping, you spray the coffee across your entire palate.

3. Locate the experience on your tongue

As you taste a coffee, think about where you are experiencing flavours on your tongue.

4. Write a description

Use descriptive sensory words to express the dominant characteristics of the aroma and the flavour.


Topics:  coffee

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