April 01, 2024

It’s 2008. Twilight fever sweeps the world. Katy Perry releases ‘I Kissed A Girl’, and Matthew Sprem and Dominick Majdandzic open their very first espresso bar in Sydney’s southern suburb of Sutherland – lovingly referred to as The Shire. It was a big year for all, that’s for sure!

Fast forward 15 years, White Horse Coffee is winning awards, has mastered the art of roasting and continues to sing The Shire’s praises. Supplying cafes with their coffee all over Australia, sharing a little piece of The Shire with everyone.


The  Interview


We spoke with White Horse Co-Founders Matthew Sprem and Dominick Majdandzic about their backgrounds in hospitality, where the concept for ‘White Horse’ came from and what music their team likes to listen to while working.


How did you guys get into coffee? 

Our backstories are far from the same. Matty’s background was selling ice cream, doughnuts, milkshakes, pizza, and basically anything he could get his hands on. He owned a shop selling ice cream down by the beach in Cronulla, where he initially fell in love with making and drinking coffee. Before this, Matty owned a Wendy’s Milk Bar not far from where he and I would eventually start up the first White Horse Coffee store.

My story is a little different. After trying my hand at a trade (and being fired from at least one job), I transitioned into hospitality following a huge industry push around the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Before long, working in hotels in catering and functions shifted to the restaurant, which is where I discovered the espresso machine. After being enrolled in a barista course run by Australian Barista Champion, Maico La Pena – it was clear that my future was in coffee.




My journey took a rewarding turn when I met Paul Bassett (Australia’s first World Barista Champion) and would become his protégé in all things roasting, brewing and beyond. I then ended up working in Japan for a number of years where I honed my skills and only further developed my love for coffee – a kind of baptism in caffeine!

Fast forward a few years. We now have a lot in common! A love for coffee and hospo, and a keen desire to share these experiences with the local community. And, we both come from a Croatian background – sharing a proud heritage of community and generous hospitality.


How did White Horse Coffee get started?

It started in a small, hole-in-the wall espresso bar in Cronulla, only a stone’s throw from the beach. We met while drinking a very special coffee – a version of a Piazza D’oro coffee which you could only find in a few select coffee bars in Australia. Fast forward a few years, ‘special’ coffees would become ‘specialty coffee’, Matty would take on the nickname ‘Matty Ristretto’, and I would become ‘The Domtron’. White Horse Coffee was born.




What’s the deal with the ‘White Horse’ name?

In coming up with the name, we wanted something unique and thought-provoking. A name that meant something, which represented our philosophy on coffee. The colour ‘white’ evoked

the notion of transparency, nuance and elegance. The ‘horse’ symbolises strength and robustness. It also just so happened that some very exclusive coffees from the Ethiopian Harrar region were known as ‘horse’ coffees – specifically, Ethiopian Harrar MAO (Muhammad Abdullai Ogsadey). So this only further cemented the White Horse name.


What are your go-to music tracks at the moment?

We’ve got such a diverse range of music cranking at any one time. Happy hardcore, RnB and pop are some favourites for our roastery. If you’re in the car with Domtron, it’s most likely death metal. So get ready! We’re a big podcasting crew. At the moment, the flavour of the month is ‘Diary of a CEO’ by Steven Bartlett (the book, not the podcast). Our in-house marketing and content guy has a man crush on The Kid LAROI.


What are some cool things that White Horse has achieved recently?

We won gold for Best Filter Coffee at the Golden Bean 2023 Australia Competition with an amazing coffee from Colombia named ‘El Diviso Ombligon’. We’ve also worked on some cool collaborations with local brewers and distillers, Sunday Road Brewery and Scylla Distillery. In 2023, we produced both a ‘Coffee Porter’ and a ‘Coffee Lager’ using White Horse Coffee. With Scylla, we have an amazing Coffee Liqueur, which makes a mean Espresso Martini.


The Coffee



Soul Of The South


This is a delicious blend that features Honduras Montecillo, a washed coffee from the central west region which is known for its exceptional quality. Alongside it is Indonesia Gayo, a unique wet-hulled coffee from the Gayo Highlands of the Aceh Province. Then comes the Papua New Guinea Lamari, a washed coffee named for the Lamari River that runs through the Eastern Highlands. Together these coffees offer an intensely aromatic experience that evokes cedar and saltbush, then finishes dry with hints of citric berries and fruit.

Origin: Honduras,  Indonesia, Papua New Guinea


  • Honduras: Washed
  • Indonesia: Wet Hulled
  • Papua New Guinea: Washed 

  • Honduras: Catimor, Catuai, Bourbon
  • Indonesia: Abyssinia, Gayo 1, Timtim , Ateng
  • Papua New Guinea: Arusha 

    Tasting Notes:


Notes of saltbush, cedar and caramel


Dose in: 22g
Dose Out: 50g
Time: 30 Seconds




End Of The Line

End of the Line is a tribute to South Sydney’s iconic landmark, Cronulla Beach – which happens to be the last stop at the end of the (train) line, hence the name. White Horse wanted this blend to be sweet and light, with fruity notes that remind us all of a summer spent enjoying the beach. Think summertime pilgrimage: enjoying the waves and the hot sand, an ice cream melting a bit too quickly, a delicious meal, and some soft, warm vitamin D. Cronulla Beach may be the end of the train line, but it’s also the start of an adventure! It’s time to jump on the flavour train. Choo choo!


Origin: Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, Honduras, Colombia


  • Papua New Guinea: Washed
  • Ethiopia: Natural
  • Colombia: Fruit Process 
  • Honduras: Honey Process 

  • Papua New Guinea: Arusha, Typica, Mondo Novo
  • Ethiopia: 74110 Kurume
  • Colombia: Castillo
  • Honduras: Bourbon, Catuai, Paraineama

    Tasting Notes:
    Notes of milk chocolate, strawberry and lychee

    Dose: 18g to 306ml water
    Pour water as follows:
    100g to begin
    100g after 1st minute
    106g after 2nd minute