This coffee story is about Luca Romito, a 29-year-old barista from a small town at the foot of the Euganean Hills in Veneto, Italy, who works as a barista in Padua, one of Italy’s oldest cities. He has been working in the coffee industry for six years and hopes that his story will inspire more people to become baristas.
Since childhood, Luca Romito had a great passion for practical things. Fascinated and with great interest, he watched as coffee was prepared in the traditional Moka pot after lunch. Even though it might not have been the right way to make coffee from a barista’s perspective today. He loved it when the smell of freshly brewed coffee filled the whole house.
For this reason, he decided to enroll at a hotel management school, where he began a journey toward becoming a chef that took him very far and made him realize that gastronomy was his world. After graduating from the institute, Luca worked as a chef in the morning and a basketball referee in the evening. But as time passed, he realized that this work did not completely fulfill him and began to wonder if cooking was really what he loved with all his heart. In his spare time, he looked at pictures of bartenders that filled his social media channels and discovered a world that was new, and strange, but still fascinating to him.
One day, rather unexpectedly, he got a job in a bar in his village, where espresso and cappuccino were prominently featured on the daily menu. He worked there three afternoons a week. But that was not enough for him. He wanted to get a deeper understanding of what exactly was behind those cups of black coffee into which some people put an enormous amount of sugar to cover up the bitter, unpleasant taste that low-quality coffee brought with it. Therefore, he decided to participate in a coffee course in 2017, which was supposed to teach him the basics of coffee. This experience marked his initiation into the coffee industry and set in motion his own personal coffee journey.
Luca quit his previous jobs and sent his CV to a prominent local baker in town. Following his successful application, Luca embarked on a journey to enhance his expertise and knowledge of coffee through various professional development opportunities. To further his education, he attended various courses on latte art and coffee brewing, organized by the Diemme Academy in Padua, all while actively working in the bakery.
Of course, Luca also remembers his really first good coffee very well. It was an exceptional Guatemalan one and was prepared in a Chemex. His initial reaction upon tasting it was one of awe and amazement, leaving him to question,
“Is this truly coffee? WOW.”
Through rigorous training and persistent cultivation of his passion for coffee, he caught the attention of Nuova Simonelli in 2019 and earned a prestigious scholarship to attend the Youth Academy. This was a significant milestone for him, as it marked the beginning of his journey towards acquiring Speciality Coffee Association (SCA) certifications, while surrounded by some of the most distinguished professionals in the Italian and international coffee industries.
To this day, receiving the scholarship and attending the Youth Academy is one of the happiest moments of Luca’s coffee journey.
In 2020, he had his first Sigep experience in Rimini, once again with the Nuova Simonelli team.
His first competition was rather accidental a year later, in 2021. He participated in the Gran Premio della Caffetteria, organized by the Italian Association of Coffee Masters, and was selected for the semifinals at the Host in Milan, the leading trade fair dedicated to the world of hospitality and food service). Competing with other highly talented and extremely experienced baristas was a special challenge for him. Despite months of training, trying out different recipes, and intensive days, it was not enough for him to make it to the final. Nevertheless, participating in this competition was an unforgettable experience that will also accompany him in future competitions.
These days, Luca is working in Padua, and his day begins at 5:30 a.m. Although it is very early, he finds it beautiful because he has a job that he enjoys. His favorite part of his daily work is enjoying a single-origin coffee in peace before the store opens. He loves observing people’s habits and seeing how they drink what he prepares for them, whether it’s a handcrafted espresso or a creatively decorated cappuccino with latte art. The customers’ smiles, recognition, and satisfaction bring him the most joy at work.
Being a barista is not easy. One of the biggest challenges for Luca is meeting the increasing demands and satisfying customers’ expectations. It requires a lot of trial and error, sometimes succeeding and sometimes not. Nevertheless, it is always curiosity that inspires and motivates him. To the question of what success means for him, Luca believes,
“Success is telling many customers day by day what I serve them so that I can expand the coffee culture.”
According to him, the coffee industry has changed for the better since he started working as a barista. There is much more attention paid to what is in the cup, and people drink coffee much more consciously and are curious to get to know the story behind the cup and the coffee.
Although coffee is an essential part of Luca’s life, it does not revolve around coffee 24/7. When he is not making coffee or talking about it, he plays basketball, goes for a run, or loses himself in the beauty of the landscapes surrounding him in his hometown.
Luca dreams of opening his own beautiful café someday and hopes to have the chance to visit coffee farms to learn and understand the complete journey of coffee from plant to cup. Until then, he continues to train diligently, read a lot, and learn new things that the coffee world has to offer.
To all coffee enthusiasts who are starting their barista career or want to become baristas, Luca Romito has one piece of advice:
“Have fun, learn with your eyes and lots of curiosity, and do not have any fear.”