Meet the Worksmither: Tim Varney

Coffee Encyclopaedia, Schmoozer, and newly appointed Project Director at Worksmith

By: Worksmith

You've recently come on board as Projects Director at Worksmith (WELCOME). What are you most excited about in your new role?
Getting to know all the amazing people who are part of Worksmith, whether as members, partners or the Worksmith team itself.

How and Why did you get into coffee? What drew you to it?
Like a bunch of others in coffee, I stumbled into it. The people have drawn me in and kept me here.

Melbournians love to say we have the best coffee in the world. Do you think this is true? What other cities/towns/regions excite you when it comes to coffee?
Almost. We definitely love to tell ourselves and everyone else how good we are, but I’m not quite convinced. That’s not to say we haven’t contributed significantly, we have. Out best export has probably been more about our cafe formula, than coffee itself. And even this has been distorted, poorly impersonated and cocked up. That said, I’m an optimist, and after some correction, I’ll be excited about what’s to come.

Apart from Joining Worksmith (haha), what has been a career highlight for you working in the beverage industry?Working with Tim Wendelboe for 6 years in Oslo was an unmistakable highlight for me. It’s where I earned my stripes and it was the catalyst for some amazing opportunities.

The last few years have seen a huge shift in consumer habits towards more local, seasonal, and sustainable consumption; what do you see as being the next big shift in our industry?
Hopefully more of the same on a grander scale. The local, sustainable, seasonal shift needs to go so much further. I don’t want to speak out of my lane, but it seems the way we farm in Australia is pretty strained. I want to continue to support farmers and producers who are doing the right thing - and I want to see the government and powerful supermarkets support them in the right way. I’m doing a pretty average job of looking after the environment, and I’m one of the one's conscious of trying to do better!

Food and Beverage is a pretty saturated market, Do you think the public has hit peak interest in f&b, or there's still more room for growth?
It’s a little busy out there, but there’ll always be room for growth. Hopefully growth in the right sense of the word though - growth in community, growth for people working in hospitality, growth in sustainability, growth in innovation and the empowerment of people with great ideas, but no money, growth in the public’s awareness of who’s doing good and who stinks.

7. What is your drink of choice both alcoholic and non-alcoholic?
I’m in just the right place with wine; I’m still learning all the time, but I know just enough to appreciate the really well-made stuff. Right now, my favourite, virtually non-alcoholic drink, is any of The Fermentary's water kefirs.

What's your favourite thing about working in this industry?
Schmoozing. Eating. Drinking. Laughing.

Describe yourself in 5 words.
Impossible to answer without sounding like a prat. Ask someone who knows me well enough, and they’ll give you a description - warts and all.

Describe Worksmith in 5 words.
Grow. Hospitality. Together. With. Me.