The Everyday Passion
Kydra believes in people, passion and purpose. Every individual is in pursuit of something that gives meaning to their lives. Your passion is what makes you unique. Whether it is daily recreation, an occasional hobby, or a professional skill, we recognize the truth that your passion can affect someone else’s life, for the better.
We want to put the spotlight on everyday people and discover what makes them feel strongly about their crafts and interests. In this edition, we pay homage to one of the most important personalities in this millennial world: The Barista.
Every day, they stand behind the counter, ready to give you that much-needed morning jolt to power up your day. With smiles on their faces, they hand you your favourite brew, greet you respectfully and keep you in for a nice chat before you dive into your daily routine. And if you wonder how you were able to overcome the rest of your chores, you might as well give the credit to that cup of coffee, and the skilled hands that made it.
Some of Kydra’s best ideas were conceived in cafes. We’re sure that many others had their own eureka! moment over a cup of fine roasted coffee beans. There’s something magical about the sip, and the scent, simmering all over the space. A gaze into the froth makes us realize that coffee is more than a drink; it is an art form that extends farther than a brew. Coffee binds people, turns them into acquaintances, and may even lead them to the best romance of their life.
These facts, we put into memory as we recall the passion, love and occasional banter from our favourite barista, Aslam, Head Barista of Monument Lifestyle. We asked Aslam what he thinks about coffee and how his daily brew has become a staple to much of Monument Lifestyle’s patrons.
Q: What makes coffee special? How does one choose their favourite cup?
Aslam: Coffee is science, but at the same time, coffee is also all about personal preference. I can lay out instant coffees that cost less than 10 cents a serving to the best auction lot from Panama which costs $500USD/pound and there will still be people saying that the instant coffees taste better. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the question, which coffee is better – it is all a matter of preference.
Q: What role do you play, as a barista, in ensuring a cup of coffee is an enjoyable experience as well?
A: Coffee is a craft – to me. Not all baristas view it that way but when I decided to embark on this journey 4 years ago, I fell in love with how the word coffee, can mean so many things to different people. A coffee scientist will look at numbers. A brewer will look at taste. A coffee drinker will try to find a café that suits his/her tastes. But being a barista is different. We don’t just make coffee. Our job requires us to greet everyone who walks in, remember their names, keep their orders in mind, and take note of their body language. That’s important; if they’re in a rush, they’d try to bump up their order. On the other hand, we also cheer up customers who’s feeling under the weather and try to make their day a bit more special.
Q: So, the magic is not just in the brew, but in the way you pay attention to people, is that it?
A: Most times, I’ll get customers telling me about their day – how busy it is, how tiring the grind gets. I will always offer a listening ear but sometimes an encouraging word or a reminder to take a breather will make someone’s day. Maybe it can be as simple as giving away a cup of coffee on the house to make them smile.
Q: How do you start your day? Do you have time to focus on various activities other than your craft? How do you keep up with your work’s pace?
A: As a barista, I tend to start my day really early at 6AM, that means I must sleep by 10PM. Despite this, I think it is really important for me to lead a balanced lifestyle. It is so common for people in the F&B profession to neglect their health due to the long hours and tiring workday. For me, I try to find the time during my lunch break to attend either a class in a nearby gym, or go for a fast run after work. It all comes down to time management and willpower to create and maintain a habit. A healthier body leads to a healthier mind. As a barista, if you’re tired, how are you going to energise your customers?
Looks like our baristas try their best to be in their positive mood all the time.
Aslam finishes the interview with a parting gift: a cool recipe for the coffee drinkers to brew their own delicious cup of French press. It’s quick, easy and fuss free. Here’s what you need:
3-cup French Press maker
30g coffee ~ coarse grind (about the size of breadcrumbs)
Step 1: Boil water
Step 2: Grind Coffee, 1:12 coffee to water
Step 3: Pour about double the coffee weight in water
Step 4: Let sit for 30s with a gentle stir
Step 5: Add the rest of the water and let sit for 4 minutes
Step 6: Press down. It should feel like you’re applying 15-20 pounds of pressure. Adjust grind size to meet that (If too hard to press down, go coarser. If too easy to press down, go finer) Decant to another vessel
Chug along and enjoy your cup of caffeine!