At the table with: Dylan Johnson

Dylan Johnson is the head barista of Sydney’s Paramount Coffee Project, a.k.a PCP. He is also an award-winning champ who won the top gong at last year’s Australian Aeropress Championship in Melbourne.

To mark the celebration of coffee, this Sunday 26 July in Sydney will be the The Rocks Aroma Festival. As part of the festival, the PCP gang will be presenting with Technoserve Birthplace of Coffee, a workshop with two Ethiopian coffee professionals, Moata and Ansha on 23-24 July.

At the table with: Dylan Johnson

Who inspired you to join the coffee scene?
I started getting into coffee in 2009. At that time people like James Hoffmann (UK) and Tim Wendelboe (Norway) were pretty influential. Both were pushing quality and talking about things like transparency and improving quality. Russell Beard, from Reuben Hills and PCP, was helping me out and giving plenty of his time long before I landed the job at PCP, and also the coffee community as a whole inspired me to keep going. It’s a small community but the people are friendly and driven and looking to do excellent things. It’s an inspiring industry to be in.

What’s currently in your pantry?
There’s probably an unhealthy amount of chocolate. There’s canned tomatoes and pasta for a quick pasta dish, always some veggies in the fridge to go with that. Also, coconut milk, curry paste, and rice for a quick thai curry. Then there’s a useful bunch of ingredients for cocktails.

What’s in your fridge?
There’s camembert and beer for what we like to call happy hour, that comes around about 4pm on a day off; ricotta and maple syrup for ricotta pancakes; plus there’s a bit of bacon to put with eggs for an easy brekkie, or to throw on the pancakes.

Best thing to come out of the microwave
Chocolate Mug Cake – just mix all the ingredients for a cake together in a mug and you’ve got a cake in 2 minutes.

What did you last eat?
Pumpkin soup with garlic sourdough.

Where do you like to go for a feed?
If I’m at home in the Blue Mountains, Henri Marc in Penrith is great; Pho Pasteur in Parramatta is excellent for a good bowl of Pho, and Como in Blaxland is great for a really good feed.

When I’m not running PCP, I’m…
Hanging out with my kids and drinking coffee. There’s some great cafes around and it’s nice to check out what people are doing. If I have a bit of free time I’ll get on the bike.

Thoughts on instant coffee?
Not much. There’s too many interesting things in coffee to spend time thinking about it. All the interesting things like variety, processing, traceability, and how flavours vary in origin and variety, you only get in good quality coffee. Same goes for any product really.

Barista tools I can’t live without
An Aeropress and a manual grinder. Together this means good coffee anywhere. Great for home or camping. I must admit, I’m a bit lost without a set of scales and a timer.

Coffee books I always return to
I’ve read some interesting books such as Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergast and The World Atlas of Coffee by James Hoffmann. Both I keep on hand for when I’m looking to check up on a bit of info. Espresso Coffee: The Science of Coffee by Andrea Illy is also full of info. But coffee is one of those things that moves fast and is full of stories so some of the best places to return to are often online. People like Nordic Approach, Tim Wendelboe, and Coffee Collective who write some good stuff about origin, and is great for hearing what’s going on around the world – they’re always a bit cheeky too.

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