Trailblazers: Nick of Tucker Cafe
Trailblazers are passionate, spirited people in our communities - people with purpose, wearing denim made on purpose. We want to show our jeans being worn by real people who share in our values. in the way they are really worn, whether that be customized, distressed, cut, tailored, or splattered with paint. We want to share their stories, talents, and passion with you.
Introducing Nick, founder of Tucker Cafe and Blackboard Coffee, specialising in ethically sourced coffee.
Your latest Cafe venture, Tucker, based on the northern NSW coast can be best described as a community hub. Tell us about the local produce we can find on the menu. We also understand that you were very considered in fitting Tucker out with local furnishings and tableware too?
Having lived in Cabarita Beach for the last four years, we love what the region has to offer in terms of produce and we wanted to put together a venue that represented the local landscape, the people and bring together the best of what people are producing in one place. Tucker is all about the nostalgic, familiar classics underpinned by great produce, making everything in house with really good execution. Organic breads from our mates at Bread Social, Hevenyah Gelato from the Gold Coast which is life changing and features fresh seasonal flavours, Shroom Bros locally grown mushrooms and ethically sourced Blackboard Coffee, of course.
It was super important to us to use local trades people in the fitout. Marloe Marloe did all of our ceramic plates, bowls and filter coffee cups in colours that represent the natural landscape; eucalyptus, chardonnay and red dirt. Martin Johnson stools are made from locally sourced blackbutt timber and our team wear natural linen aprons from Dos Ombre.
For us, every little piece that you can make feel personal, adds to the experience.
What inspired you to open your first cafe, Blackboard? Tell us a bit about how Blackboard has evolved over the years from cafe to roasting.
Hospitality is something that just runs in my bones. I have always enjoyed preparing food and drinks for friends and family, watching them enjoy it and seeing how it brings people together. Moving from Melbourne to the Gold Coast in 2010 to study, I saw that there were no casual yet really high quality cafe offerings that I was use to. I wanted to stay on the Gold Coast but starting the day with a good coffee is non-negotiable and I had to do something about it. Starting with a loan from my parents I opened Blackboard which essentially started as an espresso bar and grew from there. Fast forward a few years and we had opened a couple of locations around the Gold Coast and started to roast our own coffee.
For me I’ve always been interested in where things come from and the stories behind them. I saw coffee roasting as a great way to work with other cafe owners and help them on their journey, as well as sourcing incredibly delicious coffee ethically and sharing the stories of the farmers and the positive impact that specialty coffee is having in the regions.
Fast forward to today and there are lots of good options and cafe culture on the Gold Coast is booming which I’m really excited to see.
What does it mean for coffee to be ethically sourced? What does this involve?
Ethical is such a throw away term for some brands, but for some of us, like Outland Denim, it’s a way of doing things irrespective of the marketing benefits. It’s the want to create without the negative cost to others throughout the whole supply chain. We have travelled to Colombia and Brazil in the last two years to visit the farms we work with. We made some changes to who we source from based on our findings and farms we felt had better quality and practices. I think there is a long way to go and we are looking at setting up some projects to reinvest in the farms we work with to help the farmers improve the way they do things. Good coffee is what got us into business and good people is what keeps us here.
What's your go-to denim at the moment? How do you wear them?
I’m running Outland Denim Ranger in black and the Smith Nickel denim jacket. I live in my black tees, jeans, shorts and jackets so having a pair of jeans that are super comfy with some stretch that you can wear all day is ideal for me. Once I find something with a perfect fit, getting a few pairs in black is my go to pretty much forever. I think what got me across to Outland Denim was understanding the ethos behind the brand then finding that they are legit the comfiest pair of jeans I’ve owned. So happy days!