“You can achieve anything even if at first it seems impossible”
Fabiola Solano hails from Costa Rica, a country that takes pride in their high-quality production of coffee beans. Coffee has been with her throughout her life. She was first introduced to coffee by her grandma, who in her own words, it would “taste like heaven”.
“It was not high-quality coffee, but it was done by my grandmother”, she says.
Fabiola Solano tells me how she has always had an interest in coffee and owning a coffee shop. She took her first barista course 7 years ago in her home country. “I felt my life shifting ever since”, she says.
Her biggest achievement was becoming the first Barista Authorized SCA trainer in Central America. Alongside coffee, Fabiola loves reading and trying a new flavor of drink or a different menu item in every bar she goes to.
“I love signature drinks and how ingredients can be mixed to create a whole new experience”, she tells me.
The pandemic has affected Fabiola’s love for her trade, and it is no longer sufficient for her to work as a barista as the situation constantly develops. Her biggest challenge is now not being able to deliver barista courses or doing events. Although these can be done partially online, it is now more difficult to genuinely connect with people through a screen.
Although Fabiola has had some respite: “I now work as a bartender on weekends. My favorite part of that is when someone asks for a coffee cocktail and then thank me because they had something really good!” Fabiola’s journey and perseverance are inspiring to those struggling across the world.
“I am inspired by producers of coffee. Growing coffee is an act of faith as you don’t know what will happen to the crop, and your income depends on that”. She wants the coffee producers to be in the spotlight, as it is an often- unacknowledged part of the process. After all, it is their work which means we can have a cup of coffee on our table. Fabiola dreams of becoming a barista consultant to spread her coffee expertise across the hospitality industry. She says that hotels and restaurants should focus on a better coffee experience.
Despite being a successful barista in her own right, Fabiola acknowledges that it is very difficult for them to be taken into account as professionals in their career. Therefore, the issue of pay arises as many baristas across the world face the same problem. Fabiola optimistically sees success as doing what you enjoy whilst serving the community. This sentiment is not only inspiring, but a real force for change.
Her words of advice are:
“It doesn’t matter what you enjoy doing as long as you put your skills out there as a service to the world”.
Fabiola’s adventures and her barista skills can be found on her Instagram @lettersndrinks