“I started being a barista when I was 11 years old” isn’t a statement that you hear very often, but it’s true of Café Patina’s barista Alexander Roch and we chatted to him to find out more about his unique story.
How did your barista journey begin?
I started being a barista when I was 11 years old, we had a little espresso machine at home and I knew how to use it. I found out that my local rugby canteen also had an espresso machine and asked them if I could have a job making espressos for them. Not surprisingly, they turned around and declined, telling me that I needed a barista certificate to do that. So the smarty-pants 11-year old that I was, I sourced a way to do it. There was a café at my school and the man that ran it held barista courses in the holidays, so I did it and got my barista certificate. After that, I went back to the rugby canteen and waved my barista certificate in their face and that's how I started working there for 10 dollars an hour when I was 11, 12 and 13. When I finished high school I started working here at Café Patina.
Why do you love being a barista?
When customers give positive feedback it can feel amazing. If after they pay they give a little comment like "that's one of the best coffees I've ever had" as they are heading out of the door, then it can make me happy because they could easily choose to not say something but I appreciate it when they do.
If those are the rewards, what are the challenges?
Dealing with negative feedback during peak times can be challenging. If there has been a little slip-up or something like that, I never like to have to make a person's coffee a second time for them, I don't like to let the customers down.
If you could pick anyone, who would you most like to sit down for a coffee with?
Probably another coffee aficionado, someone who is really into coffee culture so that we could just nerd out chatting all things coffee together, I'd enjoy that!
And if you could choose, what coffee would you relive having?
My go-to is an espresso. One of the nicest coffees I've had recently was a single origin espresso and it was really smooth and delicious, I’d love to have that again.
What’s next for you?
Well, I am studying to become a Maths teacher but I still want to be involved with the coffee community as I grow older and do it along with teaching. I have my mind open to someday owning a little coffee kiosk, that’s something that I have always liked the idea of.
If you want to check out what Café Patina has to offer, head to 64 Coonanbarra Rd, Wahroonga NSW. Or, hit up their Instagram for more info @cafepatina