An interview with Ben Smith.

When we caught up with Ben it was his day off. Yet, he was on his way to Chocolate Moments, with uni work in hand. He knew there was a new staff member and he decided to hang out at the cafe in case they needed an extra hand. This is the same Ben we got to know and love when he was a high school trainee with our team on the Sunshine Coast. Always thinking of how he could be of service. Of course my first question was, "What is it that inspires you?"


What is it that inspires you?

It is an internal desire to help out and to make sure that everyone else is happy. It is work that I love to do. It is a sense of family, it involves the well-being of others and yourself. 


What was your year 12 experience with Montville Coffee like and how did it prepare you for what you do today?

Learning the ins and outs of coffee roasting and coffee was beautiful and the Fairtrade story really touched me. A big part of being a barista is making people a bit happier for as long as the coffee lasts. Baristas are in practice cheap therapists - $5 gives you a coffee and quick chat to share what is going on.


Tell me about Chocolate Moments.

Chocolate Moments is a family business. Heather and Gerrard do their best to take care of everyone as if they were a part of their family. It is a nice place to be. And I have to say I am indulging in the handmade chocolates.

A lot of people who come in are office workers. There is a large office building above us so we can give them a boost during the day. They enjoy having a laugh and experiencing a family connection as a business. The office workers take CM as a place to relax and enjoy themselves and take a break from everything else that is going on.


How have you been through the COVID-19 pandemic?

I had to move home during the virus as I wasn’t finding any work. I was lucky enough to  have some work with my dad to get by. When everything settled down, I moved back to Brisbane and focused on getting my school work under control again.


Has COVID-19 affected your studies? What are you studying?

I’m studying a Bachelor of International Aviation. In this current trimester, I am studying management concepts, aviation biology, medicine, airways operations, and design and atmospheric sciences. It's very intense courses and it’s been good to see what to expect before you enter a cockpit.

This semester has been a little challenging being completely online. It’s not the same, and there is a lot of lost connection through the screen. Also living in Brisbane has been an adjustment. There’s a lot more hustle and bustle and less of the little social exchanges you have day to day back home. But I’ve been very lucky to step into the Chocolate Moments family, and this little community within the big bustling city.


What’s your go to coffee that reminds you of home?

An almond milk cappuccino with a bit of honey. Woodford is my favourite blend, it provides a good kick without being harsh, and cuts through milk perfectly. My current favourite Single Origin is Sumatra, it provides a mellow long black with subtle flavours.

Chocolate Moments Cafe is at 42-60 Albert St. Brisbane, Qld 4000

September 07, 2020 — Kashmira Lal