I’d sum up my time in China as cold, amazing and something that will forever live in my memory as one of the best experiences of my life. Being one of only two people in the world to be the personal barista for the Australian Olympic Team was a definite career highlight for me.

The preparation for my journey to China started well before my actual departure date. Leaving Australia at the peak of its COVID outbreak, and heading into a country that practises COVID zero, meant the testing was rigorous. Just one positive test could end my Olympic campaign before it began. After many PCR and RAT tests throughout January, I finally received the all-clear on the 23rd of Jan to depart the next day.

On arrival into China, we were greeted by an empty international airport, solely dedicated to the 13 people on my flight arriving in Beijing for the Olympics. At this point, I had officially entered the “closed loop” bubble of the Winter Olympics. We boarded a bus at the airport and were taken by police escort to Zhangjiakou, which is about 4 hours north of Beijing. We arrived at the hotel and had our passports taken, which would later be returned once we received a negative test.

The next morning, we left the hotel and moved into the Olympic Village we’d call home for the next 4 weeks. I was immediately greeted by the HQ staff as one of their own and the madness of bump-in began. After a 20+ hour day we were done, and the village was ready for the first athletes arriving the following day.

The BK Café was set up just like any specialty café you might find back home in Australia. we had 2x La Marzocco Linea Minis and 2x Mazzer Major grinders, one filled with original gangsta, the other with MVP. Open from 7am every morning, I was there ready to serve some of Locale’s finest coffee all day and into the evening, catering to each of the teams training schedules which stretched from morning and into the night. During the 4 weeks running the café, we went through 100kg of coffee and countless bottles of milk. Not to mention, many bottles of fresh water as the machines couldn’t be plumbed in due to water quality issues.

Seeing how much all the Aussie athletes came to love our service and of course, the coffee, I knew there was only one piece of memorabilia I wanted autographed. One of the coffee machines was signed by the majority of the Australian winter team, including all four medal winners from our most successful winter games.

While the days were pretty hectic, pumping out coffees for the team of 46 athletes plus the Australian Olympic people & support staff, it wasn’t all work & no play. Being part of the bubble meant I got the chance to head to some of the events & cheer the Aussie crew on. I felt like an honorary member of the team & even got to wear the official Olympic kit. This was an absolute blessing coming from the height of Brisbane Summer into a freezing Beijing Winter with a lazy temperature drop of 45°C – I did not know what hit me!

The highlight and top moment of the trip was being invited by Chef De Mission, Geoff, to march with the team in the opening ceremony. The moment of walking under those Olympic Rings and into the stadium is one I’ll remember forever.

When the four weeks came to an end, I left China with a head full of memories, a bunch of athletes I now call friends, and a newfound love for winter sports.


the machine is still making it’s journey home but once it hits Aussie shores, we plan to auction it off with a portion of the proceeds going to help those affected by the recent floods. stay tuned to socials or subscribe to our mailing list for more!