Being a good barista isn’t easy. To be one of the best and most recognized baristas in New Zealand and around the world is even harder. We interviewed Gabe “Fantailbarista” who displays his art in Auckland and celebrities like Lorde and the All blacks gladly accept his Art in a cup of coffee. Here are his tips for becoming one of the best baristas
-How did you start your career as a barista?
To be honest, it was an accident. I was working in a restaurant and one day the owner asked me if I knew how to make coffee, I said no, but he pushed me to do it. Since that moment, I never stopped making coffees and that is how my career as a barista took off.
-What was the hardest thing you had to face at the beginning? and whats still a challenge for you?
I think everything was difficult at the beginning. Here in New Zealand coffee is more than just a filter and hot water. Gradually I began to understand how important are the steam, the milk, and coffee shots indeed. For me, every day is a challenge, because I always make Latte Art. I always look for inspiration in those talented professionals from all over the world on Social Networks, and when I see some photos or videos that inspire myself I encourage to create my own ideas and new techniques.
-When did you find out that you had become good at what you were doing?
When regular customers started telling me how good my coffees were. That’s the most important complement that motivates me to keep on perfecting myself.
-Could you tell us step by step how to make a good coffee?
First, you must have a precise knowledge of the beans you are using and how many grams you need when you grind them. Then calculate between 23 and 30 seconds for the espresso shot to be ready. And last but not least, heat the milk perfectly.
-What are the basics of selecting the right coffee beans and preparing properly the milk?
My next step will be to learn more about the production and the roster of coffee beans. So, I would rather not give a definite answer yet.
Regarding the milk, when you learn the technique, finally you understand that you should not burn the milk as it changes the taste of the coffee. if its temperature exceeds 70 C this will happen, and after 80 C milk basically boils. The perfect milk should be creamy, consistent, and without bubbles, therefore, the ideal temperature for a Cappuccino or Latte is between 60 and 70 C
-Which coffee is the most required by your clients and according to your criteria what differentiates it from others?
It depends on each person. Sometimes it can be just a black coffee: long black or Americano. Either coffee with milk: Can be a Latte in a glass or a flat white in a cup. Basically, the difference is a Latte has more foam than a flat white.
-What would you advise those who wish to become baristas?
First, you have to learn to drink coffee, it is very important to understand what a good cup of coffee is like. It’s something that not everyone can appreciate and when you really get to know that taste you’re on the road.
-Any new goals or dreams in mind?
Have my own Café and keep people smiling with my Art
Thanks so much, Gabe IG @fantailbarista for this interview
Claudia Corina Cejas for Digital Communication CCC