Name: Ethan Leo McKeegan
Role at Machina: Supervisor and Barista at Machina on Nicolson Street.
At Machina, you will normally find me… trying to perfect my swan game, making sure my Machina family is happy, and watering my leafy babies (i.e. our gorgeous climbers and cacti).
To me, coffee is… a little luxury; I know some of us need a coffee in the morning just to function, but I think coffee is much too delightful to be considered just ‘fuel.’
What is your go-to coffee? I don’t think I have one! I rarely drink the same coffee twice in a row, I flit from filter to piccolo to mocha; but if I’m trying a café for the first time, I’ll go for a flat white.
What kit do you use to make coffee at home? Don’t judge, but I never drink coffee at home. I know. I have so much coffee at Machina when I’m working. So on my days off, I have to explore what the rest of Edinburgh has to offer! Call it supporting local cafés!
Best coffee experience ever: I’ve had a couple of wonderful experiences, but I love being able to just sit back, taste coffee, and discuss what’s going on with the flavours. I’m lucky that I get to do this almost every day.
Worst coffee experience ever: I briefly worked in a café that served espresso that tasted like chemicals and rubber. Not good.
What's the biggest cafe no-no in your opinion? I hate cafés that look like school canteens. Queues. Trays. Hair nets. No thanks.
How did you end up working in coffee? At the start of my gap year, I knew I wanted to work and learn about something I was genuinely interested in, so I started working in a café in the city I’m from, and it’s just snowballed from there.
Out of 10 how much of a coffee geek are you? In the regular world I think I’m a 10, but in the coffee world I’m like a strong 5. I know my coffee, but have you seen the barista championships?
Top coffee tip: Flavour is totally subjective. Taste everything. That espresso might taste amazing as is, but is it good as a latte? Mocha? Long Black? Only one way to find out.
Most underrated hot beverage in your humble opinion: A good hot chocolate is hard to find. Too weak here, too sweet there. That place has grainy hot chocolate. Ugh. I’ll let you know when I find the perfect one.
What do you like to do when you're not drinking coffee? Dance. Ballet, Tap, Jazz, you’ll find me in a class somewhere. If you can’t find me in a dance studio, then I’m in my kitchen. I love to bake. If there aren’t any cakes in my flat then something is wrong.
What albums are in your current rotation? Currently living for Shape of Silence by Saint Sister, and The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Otherwise, I’m most likely listening to a Musical Theatre playlist.Guiltiest pleasure: Doing nothing. Staying in bed all day, watching Drag Race or something equally vapid. It’s the best.