The Rockstar Life of a Barista
How many of you have had the opportunity to meet up with idols like Max Verstappen, Andy Murray or John Legend? I think it is safe to say that of all the people reading this, not one has ever even been in the vincinity of one of these guys. What if I told you that you can meet up with superstars like them, and you wont get a restraining order if you go and see them every day? They are called a Barista.
If you look at Max, Andy and John (obviously I am on a first name basis with these guys) they have one thing in common that makes them famous: the thing they do, they do it almost perfectly for a long time, all the time. When you are as good as those guys, you become famous, rich and a little detached from society. You cannot just go to a supermarket to get your groceries anymore because you know people will swamp you within minutes. It’s the downside of being famous I guess?
Destination Cape Town
Last week I went to Cape Town, South Africa. My goal was either to go to Truth Coffee Roasters or Origin Coffee Roasters. Since I visited Truth Coffee Roasters many times before (I will write about Truth some other time) I decided to go to Origin Coffee Roasters this time. Origin Coffee is a fine coffeeshop with a laid-back atmosphere. There is no gimmick, it is all about coffee…and the coffee is great. (If you’re in Cape Town, do visit the place.)
A perfect espresso over and over.
Once I sat down at the bar and ordered a 12 hour cold brew, I started to chat with Neil Gouws. Neil was preparing the drinks behind the counter; cappuccino, espresso, flat whites…you name it. Before long we were chatting about the grinding machines, the coffee’s we know and love and about micro-managing your coffee. After a while we got to the point where you tell a little more about yourself and Neill told me he was a starting Barista. Working at Origin gave him the chance to practise making the perfect cup of coffee over and over. He already participated in the regionals and came in third. The first place contender, Winston Thomas, worked behind the counter as well but he wasn’t in that day. We chatted for almost three hours, I drank my first Nitro-coffee and learned so much from Neill Gouws that day.
The difference between a Barista and a superstar.
It hit me then; never would I be able to have a accidental sit-down with Max, Andy or John and chat for hours. But in the short period that I am writing this blog I met Benny Wong in Hong Kong, chatted with Neill Gouws who is an upcomming barista-talent in Cape town and next time I might be getting a coffee from the world number one Barista Berg Wu in Taipei. Much like singers, tennis-players and race-drivers, they practise each and every day and they compete with the world to become the best in what they do. The thing they do, they do it almost perfectly for a long time, all the time.
The rockstar life.
The big difference with guys like Max, Andy or John? There are no groupies and expensive cars or talkshows and frontpage articles. If anything it is hard work during office hours, practicing in your spare-time and paying for everything with a salary that will not buy you a yacht in the near future.
Doing what you love most, while working in a coffeeshop where everybody can approach you: this is the rockstar life of a Barista.
(PS: I would like to thank Neil Gouws, Adrien, Wellington Muromba and the crazy waiter-guy harrassing the staff at Origin Coffee Roasters for a good time! See you next time.)