Think cool white wine, think lemongrass tea.But think again. Think coffee.
I caught one of Thailand’s best known baristas, Sutinee ”Fai” Amornpatanakul, on a dizzying schedule that took her to Beijing one week, Seattle the next. There she will judge the World Barista Championships.
Oh! - What tempted you to become a barista?
I started working at my uncle’s coffee firm -K2 Company- as a secretary, but as I started to learn more about coffee, and the role of the barista I fell in love.
Oh! - What does being a barista mean in terms of skills, knowledge?
Wow! Being a barista means many things! For me, a barista is the connection between the coffee farmer, coffee processing, coffee roaster and the customer with their lips on the cup. Baristas should be able to deliver coffee knowledge and information. They are ambassadors for coffee. Good baristas should push the boundaries of coffee as a beverage to explore new things. And of course being service-minded and having customer service skills are a must!
Oh! - What did you learn that you did not expect?
I’ve learned that coffee is a never ending source of knowledge. The more I learn about coffee, the more I realize how much more there is to learn!
Oh! - What has been your greatest moment, and who has been your most interesting (not necessarily famous) customer?
I’ve had many great experiences in my career. However my favourite was training a 70+ year old lady to be a barista! She was very nice and eager to learn. I really enjoyed that time.
Oh! - From where do you source your beans?
In Thailand we work directly with farmers in Chiang Mai (Don Sa-Ked) to help them improve their processing and production. Every year I go there to talk and work with them. We also import other great coffees from over 90 farms in Panama, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya and more.
Oh! - Where do you want to go/do next? Ambitions?
I am trying to learn more about the roots of coffee. So learning more about coffee roasting, farming and processing is what I want to learn and do next.
- By Melody Kemp -
During the World Barista Championships.
8 cups from the participate
Behind Paradise Mall
Kaizen Coffee Co.
582/5 Soi Ekamai 26-28 (Tai Ping Tower)