Barista, designer, assistant coffee roaster or what we would simply call, an artist. That’s only a few words that can describe Nükhet Çubukçular!
Today’s coffee story is dedicated to her because we want to let her personality inspire you as much as it has inspired us.
“For me, coffee is a matter of respect. It connects people. The coffee community inspires me every day”
Nükhet comes from Turkey and her country has a lot to do with why she ended up working as a barista. After working in an extreme sports clothing store since she was 15 Nükhet had to leave that job because the shop was not doing very well.
To this day, Turkey can be called a conservative country in more ways than one. In this case, the problem was tattoos. And Nükhet has loads of beautiful tattoos! So she googled places to work where tattoos wouldn’t be an issue and she found out that coffee shops can be a relaxing space for her.
She started as a waitress but her thirst for knowledge always led her to ask a lot of questions about all things coffee. She wanted to know every aspect of the business, from farming and roasting to working as a barista and understanding the science behind brewing a delicious cup of coffee. She quickly went from waitress to barista and assistant roaster.
“I cannot forget my excitement on the first day I started working as a barista. I was so scared of the steamer noise!”
As she admits, assisting in roasting has taught her a lot about coffee and has made her a better barista as well. But what has helped her the most is always asking professionals, practicing what they advise her and striving for the best quality coffee experience.
“My first experience with speciality coffee was with a Panama Gesha from Finca Las Margaritas (farmer: Rigoberto Hererra. I tried this coffee during a roasting and cupping workshop and it was then I realized for the first time that coffee was truly a fruit.”
Apart from coffee, Nükhet loves designing, listening to music and is always involved in extreme sports. But as she admits, coffee has turned into her favorite hobby. She’s brewing when she wakes up, she’s working on recipes, talking to her friends about coffee and recently her love for coffee is also reflected in her designs.
Before the pandemic hit, it was Nükhet’s plan to represent her country in the Coffee in Good Spirits competition, since she also loves mixology. Unfortunately, Turkey didn’t compete and the competition was cancelled with no explanation.
“I called and wrote emails every day asking why. Then the head judge told me they couldn’t find any money or sponsors. However, my team and I think that it’s because of alcohol. Turkey generally doesn’t support events where alcohol is involved and many such events have been cancelled over the past 10 years.
She started to make coffee-themed designs at home during the pandemic and quickly connected with the #brewathome community.
“I reached out to my colleagues all over the world with #brewathome. This campaign impressed me very much. I was very surprised that a hashtag could become so important in bringing people together. We realized what a big community we are and found a way to motivate each other with this hashtag. Thanks to Brewathome, we share coffee recipes and our daily coffee routines with people from all over the world.”
Nükhet is very much involved in various activities around coffee and design like she organizes drink & draw happenings, outdoor coffee brewing activities and roasting visits to different roasters. Unfortunately, the pandemic has put a stop to all these activities for now.
“I think apart from the global warming effect on coffee prices, this pandemic is the next biggest challenge the coffee industry is faced with. And like many people, the pandemic has made me miss my job so much. One day I want to go back to roasting and listen to the beauty that lies in the wisdom of coffee. Knowledge is power, and the more I learn, the stronger I get.”
In the meantime, Nükhet is still actively involved in coffee by designing coffee company packages and sacks for companies in the UK, Poland, Germany and more. As she says, she loves reflecting local and ancient beliefs in her designs.
Right now, her biggest wish is for things to calm down so that she can go back to her roaster assistant job that she so misses. We wish the same for her and we are very happy we got to share her story and hopefully inspire you through it!
Do check her Instagram page to see her amazing design work and fun brewing videos!