Evgeny Starikov’s stepping-stone to the coffee industry was when he began working for Simple Coffee, a Russian coffee chain in Yekaterinburg.
Evgeny wasn’t particularly fond of coffee at the time, but found himself in awe of the nice shirts the Simple Coffee baristas were wearing whenever he walked by cafe windows. He was immediately taken by the notion of making great coffee for great people, wearing such a great shirt.
“My first shift as a barista was on the 27th December, 2010. I remember this date because it was exactly a year and a day after my wedding.”
At that time, specialty coffee was almost unheard of in Russia. Simple Coffee was one of the first chains to implement a high quality standard for coffee. They put particular emphasis on weight measurements, temperature control and only served the most fresh coffee beans available to customers.
In 2016, Evgeny and his family moved to Tel Aviv, Israel, where the concept of specialty coffee was only beginning to emerge and shape the industry locally. Evgeny now works with some of the most advanced coffee equipment on the market at Nahat Cafe, where coffee is often bought from farms the cafe has built direct relationships with. At Nahat, Evgeny is involved with training, roasting, quality control and purchasing green coffee. He finds a real source of pride being a part of the local specialty coffee scene development and, to some extent, to have been able to influence it’s progress over the past four years.
“Even if it takes patience, having a disciplined attitude towards your work can have a great impact when you aren’t distracted by obstacles”
Evgeny reminisces over one particular customer who would get his coffee from the shop for over a year without ever saying hello. Evgeny would continuously greet him with a smile and a warm welcome, day after day. A year later, the customer finally said hello back to him. It’s the small moments like this that make his work meaningful to him.
“Being a barista has as much to do with making great coffee as it does providing hospitality and good service to customers. A smile and a responsible attitude towards this work can change even the most stubborn of skeptics and customers in your cafe.”
Having now spent 10 years working in the coffee industry, Evgeny is confident in the idea that one should never force their coffee tastes or habits on anyone, but instead share their attitude and preference in the hope that it will inspire others.
Looking back on his career so far, Evgeny feels certain he chose the right path as the coffee industry afforded him with so many new discoveries and allowed the opportunity for very important people to come into his life.
“Enjoy what you want, how you want it. But don’t forget that behind your cup of coffee there are many people- people who love their work with all their heart.”
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