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Little Chief. From Australia to Malta - a global coffee journey

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

We visit 'Little Chief' to speak to Tricia Averaimo about her passion for specialty coffee and her journey in the coffee world.

The captivating aroma of freshly brewed coffee welcomed us as we stepped inside Little Chief coffee shop in Marsascala. At the heart of this establishment is Tricia Averaimo, a woman whose passion for coffee has taken her on a global journey.

Having met her previously, we decided to call again to talk to her about her experiences in the world of coffee whilst enjoying a cup of excellent coffee.

Little Chief coffee shop interior

Born and raised in Australia, Tricia's love affair with coffee began in an Italian restaurant named Madonnas. The clientele, avid coffee enthusiasts, introduced her to the world of coffee brewing. Stationed at the coffee machine, Tricia found her calling.

She immersed herself in specialised training courses, honing her skills and knowledge. From working in a coffee shop to joining a roastery, her journey in the coffee world was just beginning.

However, Tricia is not one to remain stagnant. Her insatiable thirst for growth and learning led her to the bustling city of Dubai. Here, she spent two transformative years assisting brands in their development and imparting her coffee expertise.

Tricia Averaimo near Little Chief sign

What comes to mind when I think of Tricia, and what is the most inspirational thing about her, is that she was always on the move. Many people like to stick to one place. What motivated her to find that path? And what inspired her to take this journey?

Yes, I was always motivated by growth and learning. Travelling is what makes you learn and grow. I felt stagnant in Melbourne and wanted more from my life. I did some thinking during the COVID period and could be doing more than what I was just doing.

So, when I took that plunge into travelling and landed in Dubai, I saw what was happening within the coffee culture there. There is a rich history of coffee trade in the Arab world. Dubai is a rich place of learning.

I could learn more about coffee culture there and be around professionals who would enhance my skills. I constantly push boundaries and surround myself with people who can elevate my knowledge.

Tricia Averaimo of Little Chief working

Being around more knowledgeable people provides a sense of growth for me. Life is about continuous learning and pushing oneself to the next level. Staying still is too comfortable, and that's not truly living.

I value connecting with people and sharing experiences. I believe in giving away my knowledge and skills to others. Life is short and about experiencing. Why should I withhold knowledge? By sharing, everyone can grow and gain new insights.

I've always been driven to push my boundaries and keep learning. Coffee is not just my passion; it's my inspiration. When I arrived in Dubai, it was the right place to delve deeper into the coffee culture. I knew I'd be surrounded by professionals who'd introduce me to new dynamics of the coffee world.

We should always be learning and pushing ourselves to the next level. Life isn't about staying comfortable. It's essential to share our experiences and knowledge. We're here briefly, so why withhold knowledge when sharing can help others grow?

Little Chief sign on wall

In her journey from Melbourne to Malta, through the Middle East, Tricia was recognised for her unique blend of sales acumen and coffee awareness.

She soon found herself working on an international scale. With its rich coffee culture, the Middle East offered her a platform to teach and learn. The locals, eager to absorb her knowledge, provided a mutual exchange of coffee traditions and techniques.

Melbourne, for me, is the pinnacle of the coffee industry, leading in innovation and pushing coffee boundaries. We were among the first to introduce various waves of coffee evolution. We are known for our creativity and equipment innovation.

Then, moving to Dubai and the UAE, it was a completely different world. They have unique roasting techniques, service methods, and a more glamorous approach to coffee.

Little Chief Tricia Averaimo working on machine

Glamorous? We were intrigued!

In the UAE, especially among Emiratis, there's a strong inclination towards speciality coffee. Many young Emirati entrepreneurs are opening coffee shops. They have a unique Arabic coffee blended with saffron and cardamom, served in a special vessel.

This coffee is often a welcoming gesture during events or when visiting someone's home, symbolising their rich culture. Now, the coffee scene in Malta is growing. There is a deep-rooted coffee history in this country.

Serving capuccino at Little Chief

Now, Tricia intends to bring the influences from Melbourne and the Middle East to the islands and reflect them in the brewing methods offered at Little Chief.

Much of our inspiration at Little Chief is drawn from Melbourne. For instance, we offer the 'Melbourne Magic' on our menu, a popular drink in Melbourne, which is a double ristretto filled with three-quarters milk, providing a stronger coffee hit. They might not recognise it in Sydney due to the rivalry between the two cities.

We've incorporated their love for iced beverages from Dubai, given the country's hot climate. We offer drinks like the iced V60, which is popular in the Emirates. We ensure the right ice-to-water ratio to maintain the coffee's flavour.

The presentation style in Dubai is intricate and detailed, and we've adopted that high-service style here. Our goal at Little Chief is to serve coffee and offer an experience, making our customers feel at home and educating them about coffee.

Preparing latter at Little Chief

But her quest continues. Tricia's travels took her to countries like South Korea and Japan, each with its unique coffee culture. In every nation, she consumed, understood, and learned, adding to her repertoire of coffee knowledge.

How does she keep up to date with what is happening in the vast world of coffee?

I stay updated with the coffee community by subscribing to international newsletters like Global Report and following statistical updates on coffee. LinkedIn is another platform where I connect with coffee professionals who share articles and insights.

Attending key events like the World of Coffee and Melbourne International Coffee Expo keeps me in the community. My guest roasting initiatives have also expanded my knowledge of the European market.

My experience in the Middle East, where I was involved in business development for international markets, gave me a broad understanding of global trends, from acquisitions to innovations in processing methods and gadgets, especially in places like South Korea.

Iced coffee at Little Chief

All this knowledge helps her in sourcing unique and high-quality coffee. She shared with us some insights into the selection process.

Our house blend is roasted and packed in Australia with various combinations. I am fond of African coffee due to its berry and fruity flavour profiles. However, we've been serving a lot of South American coffees lately.

In Melbourne, I was introduced to unique origins like Bolivian coffee, less common in places like the UAE. Australia is known for exploring diverse single origins, and the coffee industry always pushes boundaries. For instance, Australia's innovations include fermented-style, anaerobic, and maceration-style coffees.

In the UAE, there's a preference for Colombian coffee, geisha, and super-fermented coffees. They also experimented with infused coffees, adding flavours like mango or pineapple. In Europe, especially Malta, the coffee scene is more traditional. Still, there's a growing interest in unique processes like the anaerobic method. Our guest roaster even offers rare Yemen coffee, which is hard to source.

Little Chief coffee bags

Today, Tricia brings all these global experiences to Malta at Little Chief. The café, equipped with machines like the V60, slow dripper, and moka pot, promises a coffee experience like no other. She also holds masterclasses and barista courses for those interested.

Our masterclasses focus on sensory workshops. We introduce participants to our single-origin coffee of the month and pair it with a sweet treat. The class covers the basics: understanding aroma, taste, body, and the terminology used in the coffee world.

They are designed for beginners to explore and appreciate coffee's nuances. We offer private sessions for groups, ideally between five to ten participants. This size ensures the class remains interactive and enjoyable without becoming too chaotic.

We offer one-on-one sessions if you're a home coffee enthusiast interested in specific brewing methods like Aeropress or Chemex. For instance, a customer recently bought a hand grinder, and I offered to teach him its proper use in a one-hour session. Additionally, we have comprehensive four-week courses for those aiming to become baristas.

Little Chief sign on door

The barista courses are tailored for those aspiring to become baristas or open a coffee shop. These four-week programs cover essential skills such as adjusting grinders, extracting espresso, latte preparation, milk operations, and beverage creation. Additionally, we provide consulting services.

So, what advice would she give to aspiring baristas?

To an aspiring barista, I would say believe in your dreams and passion for coffee. When I was 16, working in Melbourne, I always told my coworkers that someone would notice my coffee-making skills and offer me a job in their coffee company. It might have sounded like wishful thinking, but by 23, I landed my dream job.

The industry is filled with knowledgeable people; you can learn so much just by interacting with them. Everyone has a unique story to share, and enjoying the journey and the experiences it brings is essential.

Little Chief baristas serving

Tricia's story is not just about coffee but the relentless pursuit of passion, growth, and knowledge. It's about stepping out of one's comfort zone and embracing the world with open arms.

As she brews each cup at Little Chief, she pours her journey, experiences, and love for coffee into it.

So, drop by Little Chief the next time you're in Marsascala. Let Tricia Averaimo serve you a coffee and a tale of global adventures, one cup at a time.


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