Meet the Barista: Sam Valentine, Morning Magpie

Sam Valentine began his career in coffee when he was offered a roastery assistant position at Missing Bean, an English coffee roastery. Three years later, he is the barista at Morning Magpie, a Central Dunedin cafe located to the east of the Octagon. 

For Valentino, the most rewarding aspects of working at Morning Magpie is educating and sharing coffee knowledge with locals, connecting with customers, experimenting with different coffee technology and continuously perfecting his batch brew technique.

He credits Jason Moore at Vanguard Speciality Coffee Co in Dunedin and Siala from Milk Shed Coffee Roasters in Brighton, England, for inspiring him to work in the coffee industry. 

His go-to coffee order is a batch brew. Valentine’s favourite origins of coffee include Ethiopian, Kenya, Geisha and Sidra. He notes that good coffee is transparent, clean, acidic and interesting.

The quality of the coffee and your water are always going to be the most important factors in your cup.”

The rise of alternative milk, experimental coffee processes and WDT tools are all trends Valentine has noticed in the Kiwi coffee scene over the last few years. 

He encourages those who interested in being a barista to get started at home. 

“Scales and a timer are your best friends. You can get amazing results from an affordable Op-shop French Press and beans from your local speciality roaster. There are also plenty of great brew guides online, including those from James Hoffmann and Scott Rao.”

When Valentine is not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, going for runs with his dog and drinking filter coffee in bed.