Barista Guild Asia
A Barista (/bəˈriːstə, -ˈrɪstə/; Italian: [baˈrista]; from the Italian for "bartender") is a person, usually a coffeehouse employee, who prepares and serves espresso-based coffee drinks. This is your typical Wikipedia definition of that person who makes your favourite espresso-based beverage and often we have our own personal favorite. A familiar face that greets us when we arrive at the café or someone who knows exactly how we want our coffee beverage and how we are doing. It’s often a personal relationship almost like what we have with our barber or hair dresser.
Ask any self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur or aficionado in Malaysia which café you should visit for coffee and you would probably get a barrage of strange names and locations of cafés. You would probably hear the likes of VCR (Jalan Galloway, Kuala Lumpur), FEEKA Coffee Roasters (Jalan Mesui, Kuala Lumpur), Seven Cups (Empire Damansara), Thirdwave (Nexus, Bangsar), Thursdvys (Taman Tun Dr. Ismail), Flat White (SS15, Subang Jaya) and many more. This compared to a short three or four years ago, where the response you might have received would be the likes of franchised commercial coffee houses and the other usual suspects. If you haven’t already noticed, there has been an alarming rise of independent cafes popping up all over, both in urban and suburban areas in Penang, Ipoh, KL and Johor. Even smaller towns like Muar, Melaka and Kampar aren’t spared of this phenomenon. As a consumer, you would probably be wondering, “So where do I start, and how would I know if a café is truly third wave or are they just ‘wannabe’ cafés?”
I once heard someone say, “It’s black; short, slick, and syrupy when done right. Acidy, fruity, nutty, sweet, juicy, and bright; resonating emulsified heroin.” When you read this description, you would then realize that it’s a far cry to the espressos being served at typical chain-styled cafés. Most Malaysians have a perception that espressos are bitter, burnt, smoky, ash-y and would generally shy away from ordering them and it might have been a true description of espresso previously. Most might also be curious to why such a small drink would cost so much. However, with the current influx of ‘third-wave’ cafes and their pursuit for that elusive cup that’s been termed ‘the god shot’, I believe the general perception of espressos is about to change.
I am sure many of us have asked the question; “Is there a fool proof formula to brewing coffee?” or even “Are there some established guidelines to brewing a “perfect” cup of coffee?” The answer is a bit of a tricky one because, while there are clear guidelines as to what is considered over extracted and under extracted, there is also the issue of taste and individual preferences to contend with. So to get you started in your coffee brewing journey, I will attempt to guide you in making a great cup of coffee using the standards of the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe Gold Cup.
Daniel Liew, Barista Guild Asia | The common question I have been asked often is “I love coffee and I want to learn more about it, but where do I start?” So here’s my 10 things you can do to speed up your learning process.