Who is Tim Jay?
Tim Jay is a 29 year old who spent a lot of years drifting across Australia and a few other countries. Though I tried to follow the path mapped out for me and my peers as a teenager – study, university, career and buying a house – I never really believed in it. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, it just wasn’t for me. So I travelled, worked as a chef, book store clerk, photographer, journalist, actor, model and a whole lot of other things in between. Like a lot of other people out there, I struggled for years with depression and got through that with the help of friends and taking up a solid exercise regime. I discovered coffee when I was in Cambodia. Looking back now there was nothing particularly special about that coffee other than being freshly roasted. Maybe it was the place too, Cambodia is haunting and beautiful.
What is your best childhood memory?
I’d be lying if I said I had one. I had a somewhat difficult childhood. Discovering the Smashing Pumpkins was a highlight but Siamese Dream isn’t exactly an upbeat album! I used to feel sorry for myself as a kid but after I left Australia and travelled to the developing world, I understood just how fortunate I was to have been born in Australia and to have had such a wonderful, hard working and loving mother.
If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?
I wish I’d saved just a little bit of every pay cheque I’ve ever received.
What do you feel most proud of?
As one of my favourite characters in Twin Peaks once said, “Achievement is its own reward, pride obscures it.
If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be and why?
There isn’t a single thing I’d keep if it really came down to it. Years of moving around doesn’t make you sentimental and I’ve never felt attached to anything material strongly enough to not live without it.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
Well it’s very rare to be buried in Australia, most people are cremated and have their ashes scattered. If I had some kind of marker however, I’ve always liked the Latin, “Sursum Corda” from the opening dialogue of the preface to the Eucharistic Prayer of Anaphora. It translates to “lift up your hearts.” I’m not a religious person, but I like to think that if someone walked past those words they might feel better if they’d just lost a loved one. I hope my loved ones would too.
You have an awesome Instagram feed. What do you enjoy most about Instagram?
Being able to connect with people is amazing. I’ve now met and even made coffee for people that have liked and commented on photos as far away as Brasil. It’s also given me a platform to showcase the abilities of friends who are much more skilled than I am when it comes to making coffee.
What’s your favorite kind of coffee, brew method or coffee origin?
I don’t have one! I have a few origins I’ll always remember though. Mocha Mattari from Yemen was the coffee that got me hooked on origins. A Sidamo from the Kebado mill was sent to me by a friend while I was living in China. Coffee was so hard to get there back then and it was very special. Right now I’m really enjoying using the Clever dripper.
In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?
None. Most people don’t realise this but being a barista full time means you rarely get to explore that many coffee shops. There’s a lot of romance surrounding barista work but the hard truth is that while it can be fun, we’re generally working long hours for minimum wage. If anyone came to Brisbane however I’d send them to Reverend’s Fine Coffee as I can’t think of anyone who does filter coffee better. My favourite cafe in the whole world however is Beluga in Sao Paulo.
What does a perfect day look like?
Waking up just before dawn in a small cabin in the mountains. It’s Autumn and the first snow is about to fall. I’m raising two kids (baby goats) who follow me around as I get ready to photography the dawn with a thermos (heat sealed container) of coffee I made the night before. That’s not how I’m living now, but I have a wonderful host family in Japan who live in a rural area of Nagasaki. This was how I lived when I was with them.