Sarita Perovirta

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.

Sarita Perovirta is a barista

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.

Barista Sarita Perovirta

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.

Have you ever thought working in coffee scene? In my opinion one of most important qualities for  baristas is attention to detail and execution. If you also have a huge interest for coffee, good people-skills and an ability to multi-task and work quickly, you are the person every Barista would love to work with. Stepping up to a espresso machine can be both exhilarating and also slightly intimidating. When it comes to operating your equipment, the first experiences can be exciting, challenging and even frustrating. However, with a little practice, and the help of a few accessories and tools, the experience can be one you’ll look forward to every day. If you want to learn more about women in coffee business here is what Fi and Casey from Girls Who Grind Coffee think about barista life.

Sarita Perovirta