He came all the way from New Zealand, hoping to set South Yorkshire’s football world on fire at the tender age of 16.
But Jonathan Perry wasn’t quite their cup of tea at Rotherham United, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley FC.
After five years in the reserves, he went back home. He was a happy man, though; he took with him the love of his life, Rotherham girl Natalie.
And now he’s back and hoping to make the grade with the Kiwi take on coffee.
Jon, now wed to Natalie and a dad of two, has just opened his own artisan coffee shop, Tamper Coffee on Westfield Terrace off West Street.
He switched his passion from football to coffee while working for his country’s major importers and roasters and is determined to turn Sheffielders on to a proper cup.
“In New Zealand, coffee culture is huge. The cafe is like the British pub and people expect high quality,” says Jon, “Often here, coffee is just something to end the meal with.” Jon insists coffee-making should be swift and expertly done; there’s a 2-3 minute window of maximum flavour opportunity post-grinding, he warns.
At Tamper (named after the polishing device used in the grinding process), every cup is expertly-made from freshly-ground Grumpy Mule beans, roasted in Holmfirth.
“I believe everything has to be as fresh as possible, which means as local as possible, “he says.
“The beans are used within a week of roasting and I use milk from Sheffield’s Our Cow Molly dairy which was in the cow that morning.”
Open daily until 4pm, the house blend is a Costa Rican El Salvador and the house speciality is the flat white, a double espresso, creamy-topped £2 cuppa invented by the Kiwis.
Flavour from his homeland is evident in the food, too; steak and cheese or lamb and mint pies, plus ginger crunch, are on the menu, alongside British cakes and pastries and ciabattas.