When recruiting a new staff member, I always ask one simple question: why did you choose to be a barista? The answers are very often like this: they like to chat with customers, they like coffee, they just need an easy job to pay the rent. Very few people talk about their passion for coffee and how eager they are to learn about the complexities of the product. We get all sorts of people applying for the job, ultimately we look for someone with a great personality and attitude. It usually takes only a few days for them to notice that the job is not about just hanging around with a smile on their face. As the weeks pass they realise that this product called coffee is more than they could have ever imagined, it is so complex and challenging but addictive at the same time, life will never be the same again! Baristas come from different backgrounds and cultures, you may say we have a different pallet, more sophisticated then the everyday person but we are people with an appreciation for good quality coffee.
As a barista, we don’t only make coffee, we get so hooked that we spend countless hours researching about the whole coffee trail, trying to find out its journey from the farm to our cup. We learn that coffee grows on a plant that then goes on to be picked by hand by the workers on the farm – this process is done by hand to ensure that each cherry is picked at its ultimate peak, nothing more, nothing less. We learn about processing methods that farmers use, there are many out there and more and more research is going into these methods to improve the final product. As a barista, we want to learn about all these steps, we want to be a part of this process and ultimately showcase the farmers’ hard work in each cup of coffee we make. We do get a bit geeky, nerdy or whatever you may call is but we are passionate about this product, we want everyone to enjoy it as much as we do. Often we get approached by the customer asking if we do syrups and we smile and say no! This is not out of spite but more about how we feel toward our coffee. We want to showcase the ultimate coffee that will stop you in your tracks, we care about your coffee experience.
Among all these weird and wonderful things, us baristas also choose to live a bizarre lifestyle. We get up at early hours of the morning and stand on our feet all day, we work weekends and bank holidays, our shifts vary and the list goes on but we do this out of passion, we do this for the love of coffee! When we leave work, coffee does not leave our mind, it’s on our Instagram, Facebook as well as our emails. We dream about coffee and worst of all we often wake up in the middle of the night wondering if we placed the milk order. I know it seems strange but it keeps us on our toes. As a barista, we continually try to better ourselves, we are constantly expanding our knowledge and we do all this for that magic cup you come in for everyday! So, next time you pop in again have a think about those amazing guys behind the bar, they are true superstars!
Until next time, cheers for now!