Barista of the Month – Alonso Matta at Little Westbury Café

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By Ravenous Renee

Not only the head barista of the Little Westbury Café, but also the owner and chief operator; Alonso Matta certainly knows his stuff, from everything hospitality and serving up great service, to providing customers with some of the finest coffee going east side of St Kilda.

Originally from Chile, Latin America; coming from a coffee drinking culture and starting out on plunger style coffee since the tender age of eight, alongside helping out at his aunt and uncle’s restaurant and pub down under (after he moved to Australia at age fifteen, for new horizons); it’s evident this savvy business man and coffee aficionado has maintained a strong love and affiliation with the dark brew, for many years.

Still to this day, Alonso’s coffee preferences haven’t strayed too far away from his humble beginnings, with a ‘long black’ being Alonso’s coffee of choice. When asked why he preferred this style of black coffee over the popular whites, Alonso explained: “it’s just the right ratio and formula, not too strong and not too weak, where you can still taste the real flavour of the beans”.

Alonso’s answer makes perfect sense; when you take into account Alonso’s origins of growing up in coffee influenced Latin America and the fact that he is a formally trained Statistical Scientist by profession, you can see how Alonso measures success: through careful quantitative analysis. Alonso took great care to test his coffee out on the marketplace, and to evaluate vast amounts of customer feedback, before choosing to work with the Naked Expresso Mega Choc blend that he uses today.

And Alonso’s hard work and dedicated measures have paid off; Little Westbury Café has gone leaps and bounds since he took it over in August, 2013. It appears Alonso has found the winning formula, no surprise really; serving up Latin American inspired delights (yes, they’re more than just a hole in the wall, they do great food!) alongside consistently good coffee and cheerful service, what is there not to love? This clever man has nailed it on the head.

You see, Alonso has the depth of knowledge and understanding mixed in with the right proportion of passion, which allows him to continually grow in his craft and in the competitive coffee making industry. After all, Alonso realises that an excellent coffee is not just made with a quality machine and roasted bean, but with whoever’s hand is whipping up the magic formula, with consistency in method, timing, ingredients and dealing with external environmental influences being key. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Alonso, the pleasure was all mine.

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