My name is Siew Hui, I am working for Starbucks as a barista, and this is my coffee story.
What do the day-to-day responsibilities of the role look like?
Serving customers at the POS to a blending of frappuccinos and crafting delicious brews and espressos at the reserve bar.
What’s your favourite part about working as a Starbucks Barista?
Hmm… probably the when I’m connecting to customers over coffee?
What does success look like in this position as a barista, and how do you measure it?
Everyone is always trying to improve themselves every single day. I don’t think I am successful right now, but I am always working towards building up new things and learning new skills every single day.
What do you see as the most challenging aspect of this job and your career?
Challenging aspect…hmm probably problematic customers? 😂😂 You know those few who want impossible to be made possible?
What was your life like before and after specialty coffee? (most consider Starbucks is a commercial coffee chain with lower quality coffee)
Before specialty coffee, I was just a regular 12-year old kid thinking that coffees are the same. But after being introduced to it, it became one of my hobbies and also something that made me into who I am today 🙏 Well, Starbucks does make decent coffees too, not just the frappuccinos, do give their reserves a try. Ps. Some of their core coffees are amazing too. My personal favorite would be the Willow blend.
Do you remember the first time you had a real good cup of specialty coffee? What was your emotional state like?
My first cup was Ethiopia Sidamo, that was the cup that changes my point of view on coffee, I was mindblown.
Is there are a particular moment or memory that stands out for you? When you got your first champ, and competing in Germany with the best baristas?
That would be the efforts spent during practices before the nationals. I’ve spent days of sleepless nights practicing routines and tastings a hundred cups of coffee. I have never had the thought that I would be standing on the world stage competing with the best of the best. I wouldn’t say that I am ‘up there,’ but I do consider myself lacking as compared to other baristas. I’m a perfectionist, I get frustrated whenever things don’t go right ^^;
Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of?
That would be my first national competition back in 2016, I was 18 then, and that stage was like a dream stage to me. That was the stage that got me started to crave for competitions.
What inspires you to work in the coffee industry?
My goals, I suppose, coffee was something that opened lots of doors for me as well as colleagues and baristas around me who shares the same passion.
What was the biggest challenge you were facing?
Definitely, how my relatives view me, many people were asking me why barista? You should do something else. This is my life, and this is my choice, and I believe that one day, I will show them that I’ve made the right choice.
What did you do to try to solve this challenge on your own?
Ignore their comments and keep improving myself.
Is there anything else you would like to share with me?
If you are reading this and still thinking whether it is the path the right path for you, continue working hard. Success doesn’t happen overnight, there might be ups and downs, but I believe that you’ll get through this and achieve your primary goal one day. 😊