Wayne Oberholzer

Who is Wayne Oberholzer?

I like to think of myself as being loyal… Almost to a fault. I get confused with this man mountain of a human who is almost unapproachable. When this couldn’t be furthest from the truth. I have a passion for learning new things, and I am constantly looking to understand stuff outside of my field. I love flavours and the exploration of flavours. Understanding what makes flavours and flavour combinations tick. I have 70 Dives to my name an advance Free-diving license. A pilots license. A Motorbike License, 3 National coffee titles and a passion for travel.

What is your best childhood memory?

I have too many really to nail down just one. As a child we would travel to Mauritius a lot. Went to the US twice, including Disney world and New York. As a young aspiring Pilot and lover of Top Gun, I was super fortunate enough to have been to Pensacola and got to see the Blue Angels all lined up and ready to go.

But probably the best memory… My Dad was not the most “sporty” of people. It wasn’t something that they did growing up. But that didn’t stop him from trying. I remember once he tried to bowl to me during my cricket playing years. We were at the nets at my old junior school. He was terrible… But I had the biggest smile on my face, as I was just so stoked that my Dad was trying for me. I guess I love the simple but meaningful things.

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Photo by Erin Wulfsohn

If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?

I have always maintained that I don’t regret choices I have made. For without those choices, I wouldn’t have achieved as much as I have, or met some of the most amazing people in my life. However I would go back and remind my younger self that woman are not the be all and end all. I threw away an opportunity to join the US Navy to train as a pilot as I had a girlfriend back in SA. During my Commercial pilot training I had a bad breakup… Which threw my exams out of whack. But again… I wouldn’t have made coffee across 3 Islands and traveled to some of the most amazing places in the world.

What do you feel most proud of?

My ability to adapt to almost every situation. When I was younger I was super shy. I came into my own really late in life. Without that, I do not think I would be where I am today. Owner and Founder of my own company. A 2 Time National Barista champion.

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Photo by The Coffee Mag

If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be and why?

My Pillow, my iPhone and my Passport. There is nothing more upsetting than a bad pillow to sleep at night. With my phone and Passport I can travel to anywhere on the globe. Some see the phone as a hindrance to discovery and experiences. And I get that. I mean come on people, the world is just inches from your face. Buts its ability to book tickets, discover languages, get tips from locals and capture the most amazing and intamite moments… It can’t be beat.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

Here lies Wayne… The man, the legend. Proof that you CAN drink to much coffee

What is The Portland Project?

Portland is a consultancy first and foremost. What we have done is breakdown the coffee company model into a bit of a modular form. We have 3 sections of the business. Coffee, Training and Equipment solutions. Too often do I find companies “forcing” clients to adopt their way of thinking and coffee. I wanted to create a company that was flexible enough to allow us to help any coffee person. From a start up roastry to an established cafe. Think of it like when you buy a BMW… Not that I have ever actually bought one… You get a menu of what they can do for your model. We do the same. We get our clients to tell us what their end goal is and we build the solution around that need.

We have our own coffee lines that we do. However we work with a team of designers and roasters to create custom and white label blends. So if you feel your brand or company could benefit from their own branding, then that is what we can offer.

7 years of experience, and I have basically worked or assisted every version of our industry. People often ask me why the skull? Inspired by the sugar skull tradition for the Day of the Dead, Los Muertos. This is a day where they pay homage to their ancestors. This skull is my way of paying my respect to my past employers for the experience gained and for the great work that they do.

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Photo by Erin Wulfsohn

What’s your favorite coffee & brew method?

I would have to go with anything manual. Except moka pots and plungers. Aeropress, Pour Over or a Chemex would be my weapons of choice.

In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?

Origin would have to be my go to. Espresso lab and Rosetta high up there as well as Shift Espresso Bar. I am a firm believer that we should all drink each others coffee as much as possible.

What does a perfect day look like?

I guess it really depends on where I am based.

In the Maldives I would go out on the dive boat and do like 3 dives each day. In between the dives I would sleep on the top of the boat and get some sun. Get back from the dives, have a pizza and a beer and just stare out to the ocean.

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London and cities like it. It would have to be an early morning coffee run to an amazing coffee bar. Eggs bennie is always an option. Followed by a walk through the city to soak up the atmosphere. A roof top bar to have an old fashion and great conversation is always in order.

Cape Town. Early morning Spin class. Breakfast and a home made flat white. A trip to the beach or a wine farm followed by an afternoon nap. Sunset drinks at Saints with a beer a great friends. What more can one ask for.

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