Features | From Pivot Magazine

Bean counter: the Vancouver accountant who reviews coffee 

When he’s not working as a senior accountant at the Vancouver news website Daily Hive, 30-year-old Alfred Zagloul—a.k.a. @AlfredDrinkingCoffee—reviews coffee for his 11,400 Instagram followers 

A Facebook IconFacebook A Twitter IconTwitter A Linkedin IconLinkedin An Email IconEmail

Portrait of Alfred ZagloulCPA Alfred Zagloul spends up to 30 hours a week on his side hustle (Photograph by Alana Paterson)

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE ACCOUNTING?

Growing up, going into business intrigued me, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. My dad is an accountant, so I gave it a try. It came easy. I got the overall sense of how businesses are run and how intricate things can actually be. It felt like the right fit. 

WHERE DID YOUR ACCOUNTING CAREER START?

After graduating from accounting school, my first job was at Blenz Coffee’s head office. They had a full-on espresso bar. That’s where the addiction really started.

HOW DO YOU DRINK YOUR COFFEE?

I used to drink sugary caramel macchiatos or frappuccinos for the caffeine—and that sugar high. Then a friend told me to stop drinking my calories, so I eventually started drinking my coffee black.

WHEN DID THE CAFFEINE OBSESSION GET SERIOUS?

The Daily Hive hired me as a “junior” accountant, but I was doing full-cycle accounting, performance management, internal structures and protocols. I helped create the company’s financial structure. Obviously, I needed caffeine to do that.

WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR THE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT?

When I got into the coffee scene, my palate started to change. I needed those specialty six-dollar pour-overs and French presses. My co-workers said, “You drink so much coffee you need to start an Instagram account.”

EXPLAIN YOUR REVIEW PROCESS.

I drink at least three cups of coffee a day. Nowadays, companies send me bags of beans. I’ve reviewed more than 500 types, as well as roughly 60 coffee shops. Nemesis in Gastown and Small Victory in Yaletown are my go-tos right now.

DOES YOUR ACCOUNTING HELP WITH THE REVIEW PROCESS?

I spend up to 30 hours a week on my side hustle, and I apply all the knowledge from my accounting degree. I built a massive Excel sheet to track all my income, expenses and inventory. And I’ve even found ways to monetize the account with advertising and T-shirts.

SO THERE’S CROSSOVER THEN…

On Instagram, I review coffee like I would a financial statement—deadpan demeanour, no joy on my face. But it takes a long time to shoot the pictures, because I’m always laughing.