Barista, the art of making coffee: an interview

Did you know that 2,5 billions of people drink coffee every day? But do you taste the difference between a real coffee, made with passion by a barista, and a coffee from the coffee machine? Well, I decided to interview a barista that works at one of the most famous coffee houses of Brussels, Café Capitale.

First, tell us who you are?

I’m Jeff, I’m 27 years old and I was born in Gent. But I always lived in Brussels.

I studied social sciences until my 4th year at St Vincent’s Technical Institute in Soignies but I did not finish my studies.

How did this passion for coffee begin?

Before being passionate about coffee, above all I’m passionate about catering services. I started as a waiter in different institutions, during this period I evolved and worked for all the posts: waiter, bartender and now I am a barista. I always liked coffee a lot and often when I was at the restaurant, the meal was good but the coffee had always a taste too bitter or burned. That’s the way I started ‘to study’ the coffee by myself. Progressively practicing at home I became an amateur barista, always searching on the internet for news and recipes of all kinds.

Have you undertake a specific training before working as a barista?

I am a barista level 1 and 2 at Brussels training & full barista at Café Capital (still in progress). This gives the barista all the tools and knowledge to be in control of the quality management of the coffee that we served. Depending on some data (weight, volume, extraction percentage, etc…) the barista is able to understand and adjusted other parameters to keep this quality under control and serve coffees of good quality.

How long have you been a barista?

I am an amateur barista for 4 years but a pro barista since 6 months.

How do you start your day, what are your routines before you get to work?

I prepare a coffee (as usual haha) a good breakfast and I surf on social media about the world of baristas. Looking for some recent news and new innovations.

Is there a particular coffee you like to prepare? What part of the preparation do you prefer and why?

Over time, I am perfecting myself in the filtering methods and the soft methods. These are slow extraction methods that give another taste result. The flavors are more subtle but more elegant. It’s like the art of tasting a good wine or a good cocktail.

What is your favorite coffee?

My favorite coffee is the one with a filter methods and specifically “aeropress”. And the origins of coffee that I like the most are Colombian and Ethiopian.

What do you think are the best coffee shops in Brussels?

– Café capital

– Kaffabar

– Cup28

– Belga&co

Do you have an anecdote or a memory that has particularly marked you (as a barista in Brussels)?

My first participation in a barista contest ” filtre method” (in aeropress). What impressed me the most was the general atmosphere and the exchanges between the difference baristas and the discoveries of the recipes of the other participants!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Any pro projects in mind that you would like to see happen one day?

Yes, I have two ongoing projects. My instagram account ‘The Barista Gentlemen’ is the facade of a project to share my passion about coffee, my goal is to help the general public to understand the world of coffee and coffee shops.

My second project and the most important to me. I would like to become the boss of my own shop in Asia but I’m not there yet, I must first finish my barista training.

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