The Choice Of a Career: Working In Coffee Scene - Barista’s thoughts
Perhaps the world's true heroes, Baristas are the reason that we can make it through our days - Especially during the long and dark Finnish winter. Many think that being a Barista is an effortless job. Being a Barista takes a lot more than pushing buttons on a machine or pulling espresso shots, if you want to make a career of it. You will discover a whole new world and fall in love with it. The fine balance of art and science.
Let me run you through my typical day. I get up around 5:30 to arrive at Paulig Kulma an hour later. The first thing I do after putting my things down is grab the brew pot and beans. My morning routines consist of setting up the Barista area which means that I will do a lot of preparation- I cut slices of fruits for coffee-based cocktails & mocktails, I fill up all the fridges with milk and other liquids I need to have on hand and I fill up the cold-brew kegs if they are empty.
After the essential tasks are done and dusted I get to the good stuff: figuring out the perfect recipes for the day’s espressos. That will mean that I set up the grinders specifically to the day’s coffee beans. Along the years I’ve got very routined system for espresso recipes. The structure of this system, and the way I think about its components, is always in the same order. Dose first, yield second and time third. The grind texture is an important aspect of shot quality. Too fine a grind will cause a slow, over-extracted shot that can taste bitter and burnt. Too coarse a grind will result in an under-extracted shot that is weak, watery and tastes sour. At Paulig Kulma there’s always two different espressos going spare, so I use two espresso grinders at my work both with different, unique recipes.
Once the doors open at 7:30 the customers start to flow in and everything is ready to be served by then. The morning shift is pretty hectic and I absolutely love it. There will be regulars to get their Hario V60’s, flat whites and cold brew nitros on the go, then will I greet the cheerful friend groups that’ll gather around a table to enjoy breakfast before getting to work. There is always something to do whether it is a new coffee on order or double-checking that the espressos that I serve are top-notch. Whether I’m brewing a pot, a pour over, or pulling a shot the goal is great coffee.
Besides working as a Barista, I also work as a shift manager in Paulig Kulma. Every day is a bit different for me, on some days I need to solve problems quite quickly (what would you do when the espresso machine starts acting out during the highest peek of a Sunday brunch?) and on some other days I guide and train a new co-worker. For me team working is what thrives me. I’m pretty competitive and passionate, so I love to put my head together with our roaster or another colleague and develop new coffee recipes or new working methods.