Stuart Mitchell’s story is big. Yes, he’s just written a ripper coffee table book about the ins and outs of the world’s love affair with coffee and the punters who make it and guzzle it, but the backstory is the real rocket fuel.
The saying goes that all roads lead to Rome. To the centre of things. But sometimes you get there in roundabout ways. Stuart comes from big ideas, big business and long hours of thinking on his feet. Having spent most of his working life in senior executive roles with NMCs travelling the world, he found himself floating out to sea five years ago when his world changed dramatically. He explains: “I lost it all. Every cent. My accountant had syphoned out everything from my account and then just disappeared. Just left me with nothing and went off overseas, never to be seen or heard of again. I simply went to the bank one day and found my accounts completely empty. I lost over $5million and had to start over again.”
Starting over is tough at any age, but being left with nothing after leading an incredibly successful business life financially takes its toll. He continues: “I was left feeling exhausted, incapable, and my confidence was shot. I thought, ‘What am I going to do now?’ We had to sell everything, and I was in no state of mind to return to work. So I started hanging out in coffee shops just to be around people and fill in time. I began people-watching and taking notes of all the funny things I heard and about people’s relationship with coffee. It was odd, really, ending up writing a book about coffee when I’m a ‘tea-totaller’. Yep. I don’t drink the stuff. But I found that gave me an outsider’s perspective that seemed to work. This is my first attempt at writing a book and publishing. It’s taken about a year from start to finish but I’m delighted with it. I’ve done absolutely everything, from content to sourcing pictures to design and publicity. It’s been a real learning curve but the process has given me something to focus on. A purpose.”
Who said a leopard couldn’t change its spots? This book, entitled Coffee People, is a humorous look at caffeine, coffee shops, hipster baristas, bludgers, wankers and what your choice of coffee drink says about you. But it is much more than that. It represents Stuart’s ability to resurface when the chips are down and find a new centre while offering a rollicking good read packed full of facts, history, tales (true and ‘imagined’), jokes and quotes about people and their java obsession. There are great pics as well.
Grab a copy online at coffeepeoplebook.com or at coffee and gift shops for your heart-starter-obsessed friends or family. You know they’ll love it. You will too.