Introducing Cameron aka ‘the professor’ Dittman

You are referred to as the ‘Professor of Coffee’ – Why that name and who ‘gifted’ it to you?

“It actually came from one of the directors Darren (Schultz), and I guess it was the information and manner that I was providing it at a time around coffee.

I like to go into coffee and talk about the science, the chemistry and the physics, and even the mathematics that’s actually involved in the coffee process.
Of course, I did not give myself that name!”

What is your background?

“My background is one of many years in a variety of different cafes, bars, pubs and clubs. Eventually my whole goal was about getting into the roasting industry or part of coffee. I was always very passionate about coffee, and thankfully, that passion eventually took me down the path that I am on right now – and I love it!

With Stellarossa I’m all about learning and development, and passing on the knowledge that I’ve acquired from all those experiences in service and beverage production over many years.”

What do you think is the key to being a great barista?

“As a barista, I believe the key is a focus on consistency in ensuring you deliver a quality product. For me personally, I’ve always taken pride in having customers come in in the morning, at the very beginning of their day, and they receive a great quality product. It’s a great feeling to know that it’s actually going to make a great start to their day and make them happy. I’ve always been about customer service and if I can provide that and put a smile on somebody’s face, then it makes me happy as well.

That’s a key message I’m very keen to ensure I keep passing on to anyone I’m involved with in helping them become a great barista.”

How do you take someone from knowing nothing about coffee and, inside just a few weeks, be confident to run their own café?

“It’s not as challenging as it might appear on the surface. A lot to do with coffee is actually about the experience that people get on the machine.

In our training that I love taking new café owners through from start to finish, we’ve taken a high-performance approach to it, where we’ve made it about kinetic muscle memory.

We break the entire process down, and go through each step it takes to make a coffee part by part. Coffee is a process, just kind of very similar to when you’re baking goods. If you go through that process and you don’t skip any steps, then you eventually make yourself a very, very good cup of coffee.

This happens almost without thinking when you are well-practised.

I also really enjoy, and it’s very important, to provide everybody with a desire to consistently make great coffee, the knowledge behind coffee as well. So, in the very beginning stages of training you to be a great barista, we’ll go from crop-to-cup as the saying goes, so that you understand every aspect of what it takes to produce exceptional coffee that your business can be underpinned by.

That’s exciting to be a key part of.”

Is there anything you’ve noticed where people commonly get ‘stuck’ in learning to make a great coffee?

“No, not really. There is nothing that I would claim to be a ‘common’ problem people have. My approach is to understand where that person is at as an individual. For me it is not really relevant what others have problems with – my focus is on the individual in front of me at that moment, and helping them get through and develop themselves into the best barista that they can be.”

What's the best part of your role with Stellarossa?

“I love that I get to see it all the way through with the people I’m working and training with. You see, coming from a training background, I used to train people for a time, and that would be it – never see them again as they move on and into their roles etc.

At Stellarossa, it’s hugely fulfilling that I not only get to train people on their paths to become great baristas, but I get to be in touch with them and continue developing with them permanently going forward. I love being able to come around to a café and see how everyone is progressing, what extra assistance, training or support they might need And for me personally, I take pride in actually seeing them develop as a barista and watch them grow in their business and the industry.”