Oğulcan Torlak has been captivated by coffee ever since he had his first sip.
Living in Turkey, Oğulcan Torlak has built up a prosperous career as a roaster- after hearing his thoughts on coffee, it is clear that this is the perfect profession for him. His first café job was where coffee turned from a regular drink to an obsession. Since then, Oğulcan has been inspired to spend his time researching, experimenting and learning the intricacies of coffee making techniques.
To him, ‘work’ that roasting and brewing coffee is a joy; in fact, he finds it difficult to articulate the happiness he feels repeating these processes daily. He is at his most content when simultaneously brewing coffee and listening to music. Oğulcan Torlak describes the experience of diving into another world, using coffee and music as a muse to fuel his creativity.
Thus, when asked if a particular memory involving coffee stands out to him, Oğulcan finds it difficult to be selective. Ultimately, every day that involves coffee involves a unique experience, each of equal importance. However, he does highlight that what makes a moment particularly is special is,
“brewing coffee with people in my favourite places and having conversations with them”.
Similarly to so many members of the coffee community, for Oğulcan Torlak, the drink acts as a vehicle for connections. Coffee has the potential to spark meaningful and fulfilling conversations, making it a powerful tool for face to face connection it what can sometimes be an isolating world. These connections are motivating and for Oğulcan, they give him the confidence to be ambitious. For him, success is limitless. In response to critics and sceptics, he affirms that only he knows what he is capable of. “I believe that I will do great things” is a powerful ethos, yet with the encouragement of a global coffee community, anything is possible.
So, to date what is Oğulcan’s proudest achievement? He defines this by his continuous improvement; day by day he thrives to roast better coffee. He recognises that in order to succeed in this business, he must create a product loved by the people. Notably, customers of his product are almost always impressed by what they receive, and if not, Oğulcan is attentive to potential improvements. This growth mindset is admirable and can be accredited for much of Oğulcan’s success.
However, Oğulcan’s journey to success has not all been easy. In fact, he faced what is arguably one of the biggest challenges imaginable: resistance for his family.
“My family didn’t want me to be a barista. but I resisted everything”.
In hindsight, Oğulcan is proud of following his passion and choosing the path less taken. He notes how rewarding it feels to achieve goals that other thoughts were impossible. Today, he loves his career and has no regrets about defying conformity. So, a takeaway for anyone reading is that if you have an intrinsic desire to achieve a goal, chase it no matter who dismisses you. Oğulcan did just that and is revelling in the success today.
“I listened to myself and succeeded”.
Today the challenges are less internal and more external. Namely, Oğulcan Torlak feels entirely at peace with his career, however financial it can be tough feel your wage is not comparable to your hard work. This sentiment is shared by baristas globally hence the work we do here at I’M NOT A BARISTA; we want to celebrate this hard work and provide the recognition to individuals like Oğulcan who deserve it.
What does the future hold for Oğulcan? In these unpredictable times no one can predict what may be around the corner but it is clear that whatever opportunities Oğulcan faces he will tackle them head on. Yes, there will inevitably be challenges but Oğulcan’s years of experience have taught him to learn from the past and move forward with a renewed perspective. He highlights the importance of taking a step back and approaching matters from a different angle.
“If there is a problem, there is a solution”.
He aims to move forward with this mindset, ensuring that where possible, he is part of the solution, not the problem.
Away from coffee, Oğulcan Torlak has an energetic character and loves to be fully present in the beautiful moments of life. He emphasises the importance of maintaining energy, even on the worst days. He is a big football fan (both playing and watching) and loves to travel and visit new places. How can you enjoy the simple joys of life like Oğulcan? The best idea he offered was to take a walk, listen to some music and don’t plan your route. Just walk for the pleasure of being outside- this will undoubtedly bring energy to your day. Of course, Oğulcan also relishes the time he spends with his girlfriend.
Oğulcan urges you to reach out and spark a conversation. He loves to meet new people and notes the possibility for global connections today via social media.
“I love meeting new people because you never know who will contribute what to your life”.
Therefore, I urge you to reach out to Oğulcan as his words are infectiously positive. Allow his stories to urge you to chase after your passions and value the simple beauties in life.
What is new?
NOT A BARISTA Podcast
We are constantly inspired by all the amazing stories of baristas around the world and we want to take this opportunity to introduce you to our newest project: The I’M NOT A BARISTA Podcast. This podcast will be sharing all our incredible and amazing coffee stories from baristas and coffee people around the globe.