The rock star barista
Article from the Sun daily by Peony Chin (posted on 6 Jan 2016)
HAD he not discovered an appreciation for coffee, Pablo Bialaszynski may very well have gone on to become a rock star florist.
“I had set my mind on becoming a musician. I'd already been performing and playing in a band, then coffee came about and I channelled all that energy into learning about it,” said the Malaysian Chinese-Polish lad.
Bialaszynski also admits to having a great affection for blossom, and had once thought of opening his own flower shop. Fast-forward four years and he can be found at his second home, manning the coffee bar at Fahrenheit 600 in Publika, Solaris Dutamas.
Impressed by Bialaszynski’s zeal to share his coffee knowledge, the owners of Fahrenheit 600 offered him to take over their coffee programme and join them as a business partner. Armed with several years of experience under his belt, Bialaszynski combines an old school coffee-making style and a third-wave approach to preparing a cup of java.
What was it like when you first ventured into the coffee industry as a barista?
I think, like anyone else, we only see it from the outside and we believe that it’s all pressing buttons and spelling names wrong on cups. I thought it would be that easy until I hopped behind the counter.
There was more science and history to coffee; from the exact specialty coffee, to how it stemmed from different parts of the world, and how it influenced different movements and cultures worldwide. It was one of the most unforgettable moments when I decided I was going to do this for the rest of my life.
How much personal time have you invested into learning about coffee?
I’m still learning. It didn’t quite stop for me. At the end of the day, coffee is a fruit, a cherry. It grows on a tree, and it’s something that we cannot control sometimes. It requires you to constantly adapt to how it changes.
In spite of all the coffee professionals we have out there, there is only so much you can do – you can never really max out your understanding of coffee. There is always something to learn about it. My personal time has been used up quite fairly, but it is very rewarding, thinking of how it can influence lots of people – consumers especially – to change their outlooks on coffee.
Walk us through a day in the life of a barista.
You start the day by calibrating coffee; as the coffee ages through roast, it changes daily. Even after half a day we have to look back at our coffee grinders and make sure it’s still grinding the same quality we’re looking for and thus, letting us make the same standard of coffee that people enjoy.
Usually, it takes an average of 10 espressos in between two different types of coffee that I serve daily beforeI feel confident about serving and know what I taste is exactly what I’ll beserving.
What is the best thing that any customer can tell you about your coffee?
Hearing someone say, “I never knew coffee could taste like this!” is what I live on. A little bit of praise never hurts. I really am proud of what I do. But if I think a particular kind of coffee does not taste specifically good today, I would be honest and tell my customers. Then, I'd recommend something else.
Favourite order at the mamak: Anything with curry.
Favourite food: Spicy food.
Daily must-have: Chocolate.
Childhood ambition: Rock star.
Favourite flower: Hydrangeas.
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