John Ronchi, Campos Coffee

Have a good work ethic, and lead by example ...

To the Italians, coffee is life. It’s community; it’s laughter; it’s connection; it’s beauty. The cafe is a meeting place for friends, family and strangers. A place where friendships are born, love blossoms, ideas come to life and community spirit flows freely. It was in Vicenza, Italy, that John Ronchi first fell in love with coffee. Upon graduating from university, John spent four months in the Northern Italian town working in his cousin’s cafe, surrounded every day by the Italians’ ardour for coffee. Returning to Australia, John spent the next 15 years helping to build the coffee community in Brisbane, alongside business partner Eugene Phua. In early 2008, the duo’s hard work and passion for the beloved bean culminated in the opening of Campos Coffee in Fortitude Valley, which, in four years, has found a creative and passionate community that would make any Italian proud. The Weekend Edition spoke to John about his essentials for a well-spent weekend.

How do you like to start your weekend?
I work at our Wandoo Street cafe most weekends, so it’s a very early start. I like getting in early to put the muffins and danishes in the oven, so that I can enjoy a warm croissant with Nutella, and a strong 3/4 latte.

What’s your favourite thing to do on a Saturday morning?
See above!

How do you like to unwind?
Cooking dinner at home, trialling recipes from our vast array of cookbooks.

What are your essentials for a well-spent weekend?
I’m a bit of a clean freak, so on the occasional weekend that I have off, I like to make sure my apartment is cleaned up, and all my washing and ironing are up to date.

What’s something you’ve been meaning to do on the weekend but haven’t got around to yet?
Visit all the great farmers markets we have in Brisbane.

What’s your favourite thing to do on a Sunday evening?
Stay at home catching up on missed TV shows.

What are you looking forward to next weekend?
I have Sunday off next week, so sleeping in.

What are you reading at the moment?
Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain.

What inspires you?
Coffee. The people who grow it, roast it, and the baristas who turn it into the beverage that a vast  majority of people can’t live without.

What was your childhood dream?
To be a police officer. You would probably guess that if you have had to deal with me if you have broken one of my rules at work.

What has been your greatest achievement?
Convincing my wife Bianca to marry me. Hopefully it didn’t take that much convincing!

What is success to you?
I really don’t know. I think the individual perceives success – I wouldn’t consider myself successful, but others might. I don’t think it matters really. I would rather be ‘well respected’ in my chosen industry  than tagged ‘successful’.

What are your words of wisdom?
Have a good work ethic, and lead by example. It is the only way to gain respect. It’s the underlying reason for Eugene (my business partner) and I working the weekends behind the espresso machine and on the floor. It makes it a seven-day week, but it shows our wholesale customers that we are ‘at the coal face’ with them. From a training perspective, I can demonstrate that I actually put into action what I teach when training new baristas.

Perk up … Campos Coffee of course!
Relax … At home
Dine …  Beccofino, Teneriffe, Brisbane City
IndulgeE’cco Bistro, Brisbane City
Shop … Chinatown for some great ingredients
Catch-up … My place
Be inspired … The Cultural Precinct at South Bank


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