Who makes your morning coffee? Coffee drinking is a global business, an international empire that governs our tastebuds and our body clocks and is an essential morning ritual for many.

With such a proliferation of choice in our town, it can be overwhelming deciding where to grab your morning brew. The excitement, dedication and expertise that local baristas and roasters possess is impressive and ensures a delicious cup of coffee in any part of town.

We’ve decided to showcase our local stars — the people with the passion — so you know where to go and who to allow to pour your coffee.

Next up in our line of baristas is the uber cool and ultra-talented Kurtis Tupangaia from Bear Bones Espresso in Fortitude Valley, who talked about his genuine appreciation for all things coffee.

What exactly do you do?

I’m a pretty versatile worker, so a typical day for me can include making coffee, cooking, cleaning, packaging beans, roasting, cupping, delivering orders, and training clients, amongst the number of other things that I can’t think of right now.

How did you end up on this path and what does making coffee/roasting beans mean to you?

I began my hospitality career while I was in high school, working as a dishie on the weekends to earn some spending money for myself. After I graduated, I took on full-time hours, and proceeded to work through a number of roles across various venues over the following years.

I’ve always really enjoyed making coffee, but I didn’t become completely engrossed in it until last year when I began working in the Bear Bones roastery and started to understand just how much there is to the coffee industry.

To me, coffee is both a very simple and a very complex thing, and I enjoy the way in which people can have a genuine appreciation for it at almost any level.

Favourite way to drink coffee?


Where would you most like to stop, sit and sip on a coffee?

I guess it isn’t really a particular place, but I love spending a day off taking a stroll, maybe through Woolloongabba or the city, with nothing to do, and happening across a good spot to stop for a coffee. I don’t even really have to feel like one, it’s more the act of being able to stop for a moment and think about what I’m up to, and what I feel like doing.

If you could make a coffee and have a chinwag with anyone in the world – who would it be?

Hahahaha “chinwag”. Hmm… I think Chris Pratt (Parks & Recreation, Guardians of the Galaxy) would be a pretty great guy to have a chat with, even if it was only to watch him do martial arts and explain to me how food is energy.

What makes your coffee different to others?

It isn’t really specific to me, but I genuinely enjoy making coffee, and I think that comes through in the cup. Some folks even tell me that they can taste the good vibes.

Coffee to you means…??

I like to think of myself as the guy who provides the city with the fuel that keeps it running. “Kinda like the cashier at the servo?” It was much more glamorous in my head…

Tips for always getting a good coffee?

Try drinking a bit more black coffee. A lot of the time, impurities in a blend can be hidden behind nicely textured milk, so if you’re drinking it as an espresso, it should be pretty obvious if there is something wrong. This way, if you find somewhere that makes a delicious black coffee, it should be pretty safe to say that anything else they do will be exceptional.

Anything else readers should know?

If you’re ever on your way to grab a coffee, and find yourself suddenly overcome by the urge to do something completely left field, give a filter coffee a go. It would be great to see Brisbane’s coffee culture pushing for more venues to offer filter as an option.

Bear Bones is located at 2/66 Mclachlan Street, Fortitude Valley and is open from 7am-2pm Monday-Friday.