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Humans of coffee: Charlie Wade

Who is Charlie Wade?

A guy pretty much obsessed with all things coffee. It started at a young age, copying my father’s morning routine of a strong black coffee with one sugar. Little did I know that many years later, while studying music, my part time barista job would pull my life in a different direction as coffee took over my world.

Born Wade Ruiters in Kokstad South Africa, my family moved to Auckland, New Zealand at the age of 11 and towards the end of 2017 I decided to move to Melbourne, Australia, planting my roots in Brunswick, a suburb in Melbourne’s North. Charlie become a workplace nickname at my first barista job and has stuck for the subsequent five years. Charlie, Charlie Wade or Wade: take your pick!

What is your favourite childhood memory?

Family trips to East London’s Orient Beach swimming pools feel crystal clear in my mind. We would spend hours there on hot summer days, and then head up the road to the Windmill Roadhouse for hotdogs and a strawberry thick shake. Up to this day strawberry shakes are still my favourite, can’t beat ‘em!

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If you could have a do-over in life, what would you do differently?

Nothing really. I’m happy and comfortable with who I am and where I am in life and I wouldn’t want to change anything that might affect the person I’ve become today. Everything happens for a reason and there are things to learn every step of the way: life’s just one big lesson after the other.

What do you feel most proud of?

I’m proud of who I’ve become. That’s something I don’t often think about but I’m pretty fortunate to be in an industry I love. Every day is filled with awesome people, great coffee and building genuine relationships. Following my passion and interests, being hungry for knowledge and open minded to learning from everyone has lead me to where I am today. It hasn’t been the most conventional journey but I’ve learnt the importance of pursuing your passion above all else.

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If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?

Passport. I love traveling and seeing what our world has to offer, experiencing other cultures, eating my way around cities and obviously chasing down my next cup of coffee. I’d definitely need my passport in order to do so.

Camera. Having one eye focused behind a camera is one of my favourite hobbies, I don’t think I could go a week without taking some shots.

Aeropress. Why not? It makes delicious coffee pretty much anywhere.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

“Not really dead, check behind the tombstone!” I’m pretty much a joker and I love playing pranks – to think that I could still fool someone from the grave would be hilarious. I’d want to be cremated and hope my memory lives on with my family and friends, so yeah, in a sense I wouldn’t really be dead!

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What is @wade_ruiters?

My Instagram account started with the intent of documenting my coffee journey and as time progressed it took me to new places, seeing what others were doing and learning from them. I started asking questions and I started having more conversations with likeminded people in Australia, Italy and Amsterdam, to name just a few. Connecting with people through our common love of coffee. I then started buying coffee from all over the world – not great for the wallet but my palate appreciated the cost! I’ve made some pretty good friends through Instagram and it’s those relationships I value today.

What is your favourite kind of coffee?

This question’s actually quite hard. I feel like I could easily say a washed Ethiopian, either as espresso or filter but really, I just want a delicious coffee, whether that be a blend or a single origin, espresso or alternative brewing. It’s just got to taste good!

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

I work for Padre Coffee in Brunswick East in the wholesale team building stronger relationships with our wider family, so you could see me in different cafés all over Melbourne but most likely you’ll bump into me at Padre’s Brunswick East café on Lygon St with a double spro in hand.

What does a perfect day look like?

It starts with a homemade breakfast of bacon and egg on toast with some filter coffee to accompany, then going to work and killing it. Finally heading home for some downtime with my partner: food and wine followed by an evening stroll walking our dog. Perfecto!

Photography by Rob Townsend

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