Humans of coffee: Matt Kenny

Who is Matt Kenny?

Part-time barista, full-time over thinker, wannabe photographer, currently living and working in Cambridge. Slightly awkward and introverted coffee lover who can regularly be found in the city’s many cafes (my Instagram @_mattpk is testament to this).

What is your best childhood memory?

Spending time with my grandmother as a small child, eating toast in her front room and holding her hand as we walked through the vast parks in Harrogate. She has since passed, but my interest in toast and long walks has not. I do miss her and her sense of humour dearly.

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If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?

I’d love the chance to go back to university again. I often feel there’s a lot of pressure to go into higher education at a certain point in your life, rather than when you are actually prepared. I certainly wasn’t ready or in the right place, and while I got the grade I wanted, I don’t feel I made the most out of the experience socially.

What do you feel most proud of?

Overcoming childhood and teenage anxiety, to become a relatively confident individual who is pretty comfortable in themselves. Coffee shops helped a lot as they allowed me to learn to enjoy my own company, gave me time to think and allowed me to switch off, even if only for an hour. I was always someone who struggled in any social situation, couldn’t make eye contact and would shut down at the mere thought of a lengthy conversation, and I don’t think it can be understated.

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If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be and why?

While it is very cliché, I would have to say the number one item is undoubtedly my iPhone. Having lost my phone for only a few days recently, I realised how reliant my life is on technology. I could learn to live without it but I’d rather just have my phone. Aside from that I can only really think of my plant collection, since I’ve become very attached to them. Everything else seems very replaceable.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

I just want a hot cup of coffee, black, and I don’t want to hear about your troubles.

What’s your favorite kind of coffee?

My go-to order is, and will, probably always be a flat white but I’ll sometimes go for a double macchiato if I’m pressed for time or woke up on a particularly bad side of the bed. At home I generally stick to black coffee brewed through an Aeropress, with a Takengon Indonesia single origin from Coffee Officina my bean of choice at the moment.

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In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?

My passion to coffee led to me taking up a barista role at Urban Larder (@urban_larder), which will always be the closest shop to my heart in Cambridge. Otherwise I can be often be found staring out of the window at Espresso Library, Hot Numbers or Fitzbillies. Along with Afternoon Tease and Bould Brothers, the city has a really thriving coffee scene at the moment which is great after so many years of lagging behind.

What does a perfect day look like?

I’m an early bird, so I’d probably wake up early at around 7am and sit with a cup of coffee in the front room with the sun shining through. I’d then probably go to the gym, since a good workout always seems to put me in a good state mentally for the rest of the day. Breakfast and coffee in Cambridge would follow, perhaps a walk round the Botanic Gardens, and finish the day drinking, laughing and drinking some more with my best friend Alex (@alixdiamond on Instagram).

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