Meet the Reader: Steven Ballantyne

What’s your favourite hobby that’s not coffee?
I have a love for water and spend as much time as possible out-rigging (a form of kayaking) on the China Sea and on Taal Lake in the Philippines.

What do you do?
I run my Hong Kong/Shanghai based company EPM Asia. We produce filming locations across Asia and China for a range of production clients including Disney Nature, National Geographic, BBC Natural History, and Discovery Network. I am also the co-owner of the Villa Barako Coffee Plantation in the Philippines.

Our estate is just two years old and we have yet to receive our first crop but we’ve been planning this for many years. The Philippines was once a world leader in coffee production and it is our ambition to bring back to the international market a high quality Barako Coffee Bean!

What is the most unique thing about where you live?
Hong Kong is known for its city lights and tall skyscrapers, but within a short journey you can find yourself exploring the most beautiful wild landscapes across one of the many Islands.

If you could only use one piece of Brewing equipment for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
I like my coffee to be black, thick, rich, and sweet, so I would opt for a Turkish wide based copper coffee pot. I work in remote locations across Asia and always carry a pot with me to brew coffee on an open fire — I love the process of brewing Turkish coffee, its simple but effective in delivering a full-bodied cup.

Do you remember the first coffee you had that was more than just coffee? When did coffee become important to you?
It was in 2001 when I was trekking through the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. En route to a remote tribe my porters picked up dried coffee beans from a small village. That night we camped by a river. Early next morning, I woke to the most amazing smell of coffee. My porters had roasted the beans in a baked bean tin, crushed the beans on a river bed rock and brewed in a pan, cowboy style — it’s rich taste was raw, a little harsh but simply amazing. From that moment I set out to understand more about coffee and that passion has lead me to where I am today, growing coffee.

Espresso of filter?
Espresso — my preferred way to drink coffee in what I believe to be its purest form.

Too cold or too warm?
Too warm. I love my coffee hot no matter what.

Painting or photography?
Photography, for the ability to catch a moment in time which will never occur again.

First date: museum or movie?
Movie — more opportunity to snuggle!

Wizard or Jedi?
Wizard. Life should always be a magical journey.

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Meet the Reader: Steven Ballantyne

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