Busier then a one legged riverdancer!
Campos is with out a doubt the busiest espresso bar I have ever worked in and after four days I am left literally, physically sore. Saturday was the climax of the week and it was on this day that I felt that I was starting to get it. By this I mean, when you start a new job you have to learn there systems, where they place everything, from milk to milk pitchers. I really believe the first few days are just spent training your muscle memory. Like any sort of repetitive training be it, touch typing to full on combat training, if you repeat the moves enough it becomes a muscle memory rather then a thought process. So when I am reaching behind me for milk or in front for the tamper I don’t have to think about it.
As they are busy there is one thing that I am aware of, its the velocity at which we have to move. I feel like I am learning to box having to learn to jab, grab, recoil and then (taking the manly boxing reference out of it) pour. Its really challenging to move as fast as the other guys. On that matter Ben the head barista is the best working barista I have seen or had the pleasure working with. Not only does he pour a wicked coffee he is taking phone calls, orders, handing out coffees, directing Barista 2 and 3, keeping an eye on the runners and make sure the cafe is clean all with out leaving his grinder and steam wand. He is a true professional and I have nothing but respect for the guy, he is just, great to watch.
When I took on the job I was a little hesitant at first as there is a no speaking policy for us, but this is really not an option anyway. Sure, if there are only a few orders to do, we will have a one line conversation, but there is just not any chance to do the usual “catchup on last nights events” type chit chat. The cafe has no break in service, I was very used to having quiet lull’s in other jobs, when I could sit with a mate in the cafe and have a quick chat, there is just no chance here, so I have checked my social life at the door, I’m here to work . Its all about the coffee, nothing but the coffee, in fact the only beverage that they have that does not have coffee or milk in it, is bottled sparkling mineral water. So no juice, no frappes, no bells and whistle just bloody good coffee from 7am till 4pm 6 days a week.
It is, for me, taking coffee into a realm that I have not had the luxury of experiencing before, even trade shows that I have done don’t come close. If the milk is one degree to hot or cold, then throw it out, if the espresso is not spot on then throw it out. I have seen the guys make two or three shots before serving an espresso to a customer, it has to be precise! Its the way it should be, disciplined and exact! Will spoils the barista with not only fantastic pay, but new Roburs every two months for the cafe, who does that for their baristas?! I LOVE THIS PLACE!!
To top it off, at the time of writing this Campos had just nabbed no 1 spot on the eatabilty.com web site, beating Tetsuya’s and we don’t even serve food! have a look http://www.eatability.com.au/au/sydney/public/top_ten/best_restaurants_cafes_overall.htm
On Monday night they are going to train me to do drink in’s and I can’t wait to be able to pour a perfect cap with art every time all day, every day! At the moment I am doing milk for take aways and grinding & pouring decaf espresso.
I got the chance to meet up with Arthur Wynne http://arthurwynne.wordpress.com in, of all places Bathurst, country NSW and he was thoughtful enough to bring with him some of Intelli’s coffee. Arthur for those who don’t know him is the tattooed Aussie that is working at Wicked cafe in Vancouver Canada. We met at a nice restaurant and got the chance to catch up over some good food and wine. In typical form he commandeered the Boema espresso machine and started to make us all coffee, even though the machine would not really let him. We had made plans to cup the coffees Tuesday at Campos new factory but unfortunately he could not make it.
Campos Tuesday 10th/7/07
I had made plans to meet up with Will and the boys from Naked Coffee (Shop 7/99 Elizabeth St, Elizabeth Arcade Brisbane) at 10.30am. So we lined up the coffee next to some of Campos coffees not to compare but just to enjoy, some of intelli’s coffees had gotten past three weeks old so I think that some of them had lost there, pazazz. We tried Kenya, Kita-ORO, Auction lot Nyeri, Ethiopia, Yirgacheffe,
Anjilanaka organic Bolivia (Direct Trade), Colombian ,Tres Santos Micro Lot, Canoas (Dirtect Trade). We tried a Kenyan AA, Yirgacheffe and a Java from Campos. As always my fav coffees were the ones from Africa they just really stand out. Though, I might try and get Intelli to send us over some coffees from Panama as I really miss them, Doug or Kyle if your reading, what do you reckon?
Later that night at about 9.30pm Will rings up and first I’m thinking that I have done something wrong, but, straight of the cuff, he asks if I have had chicken pox! Yes I have, why? It turned out that our roaster had come down with them and we all had been cupping with him that day, eep!
A very special thanks to Arthur for bringing the coffees over with you I promise I will send you some Campos when I get paid (kinda broke at the moment).
After the cupping Will took the four of us to Allpress to see their new cafe and to have a look at the first operating Clover in Australia. We got to try a Colombian but unfortunately the only info they had on it was that it was a relationship coffee… I am really excited that Will has already bought a Clover and we should be getting it within the next few weeks!!! I was lovin how “gun ho” Will is when it comes to coffee as he had bought the Clover without even seeing it in action! That’s just fantastic, he’d heard that it is a great machine and just did it, spent the money no questions asked. God knows how many companies sit there and “um and arr” about things like this. I had heard that Bewley’s had bought one and did not even get it out of the box for two months, why!
James the head barista at Allpress took time out to talk about how the machine is going, saying that he has not been pushing it, as they have only just opened with the new look bar. The only people who are ordering of the Clover at the moment he said are industry people coming to see it in action, so time will tell, though I am sure that the Clover will make an impression on the Aussie market. The place is interesting with a view looking straight back into the factory. They has great food on offer too but we could not stay, so after the coffee we had to press on as I had to do training that night.