Gosh it’s been great sipping and chatting with folk at the barista course. This time I got to speak with Ali, who finished the The Accredited Barista Course. Ali is currently working on his own accounting and e-commerce projects – things I know little about but sound very impressive. Ali is full of ideas, has a curiosity about the world and a bright future ahead of him, and I left this conversation optimistic about the future of coffee. If people like Ali are involved, the coffee industry is going to improve and develop in ways I can’t imagine. That is something to look forward to.

What do you like about coffee?

Tastes good. You enjoy it by yourself or with others. And it’s a habit – I think many people would agree! But it’s not so bad – it makes you alert and focused.

Why did you choose this course?

Someone put it to me “There’s this course and I know you like coffee – do you want to take it?” and I said “Yeah, why not!” At that moment I was looking for work in cafes, and was told this course would give me good knowledge – which it did. I found it pretty interesting.

What are some interesting or surprising things you learnt during the course?

I got a deeper understanding of coffee itself, and why the occupation itself can become an art. It looks simple from a distance, but after the course I realised there is a way to make it better – there is a skill and expertise you develop over time.

I realised it can be high pressure. There’s always a precision the barista is going after, so under the pressure of time they produce the same very good quality of coffee at all times.

And the team work! It’s important that each barista knows what’s expected of them and synchronises with their teammate.

Do you see any partnerships between what you learnt in coffee and your previous studies or current and future projects?

That’s a very good question (thank you Ali). I think yes. Especially when I went to this training, I had a brief look at how they are roasting coffee, it made me think for a second “oh okay, the coffee is not only at the coffee shop, there’s much more happening behind the scenes.’ I haven’t explored it fully, but it’s likely. [Opportunities] like trading coffee beans, equipment, home machines… (I go off topic as we extol the virtues of Breville*)

Is there anything in coffee that you’d like to learn more about?

From a coffee making perspective, it’s more about practical experience. I think that would allow me to develop more understanding.

What kind of coffee do you make at home?

With this training I became more aware of how I’m making it. I used to just make it, but now I know I can get that type of foam by doing this, or improve the overall coffee. Sounds small , but it’s not! Overall I became more efficient.

What’s your most memorable coffee experience?

Ahh… I don’t have one! All of them and none of them…

(I dig a bit further)

I lived in Portugal for a while (studying naval architecture!), and they have a great coffee culture. They don’t do it like Australia, but espresso shots – good quality espresso. I have a lot of memories attached to that. They have their espresso after dinner – it was a matter of getting used to it, but that was the culture! Lisbon is beautiful, and the south coast, I was there studying for six months, then stayed another six months. Good coffee reminds me of Portugal. 

What are you interested in outside of the coffee world?

I like sports – I’m pretty active so quite a bit of jogging and swimming. Music; I like any type of music, but I explore electronic and ethinic music a lot. I’m interested in piano but don’t have enough time! And computer programming.

Thanks so much for your time Ali! I particularly enjoyed his memories of coffee in Portugal because it really encapsulates what is at the heart of our love of coffee. Sure, we drink coffee to wake us up in the morning, for a delicious flavour, for the habit – but great coffee is more than coffee. It’s steeped in culture and an expression of the community and environment it’s drunk in. A meaningful (and tasty) way to engage with people and place. 


*I was not paid to say this. I just really like them.