Do you enjoy a scent of coffee once during your day? If you do, the sookmyung times (SMT) recommend you the café Coffee LEC (Limited Edition Coffee) Where you can meet An Jae Hyuek (AN), a man who roast coffee for you, and the air is redolent with the fragrant of roasted coffee beans.
SMT Before the Korean drama Coffee Prince No.1 was a big hit, a barista was not a famous career. What made you to decide to become a barista?
AN Actually, I was studying to become an actor, but during the time at military, I saw difficulties and the chances that wouldcome to me were uncertain. I thought trying something new might determine my mind and my goal of life. Then my mother recommended becoming a barista to me. It is something creative, and I thought it was worth to try. At that time, being a barista was not so popular, but being popular or famous was not so important to me. It was fun, interesting, and I was good at it. I met good friends too, who could grow the same dreams together with me.
SMT What is it like to live as a barista in Korea compare to other foreign countries?
AN Well, the biggest differencesbetween Korea and other countries would be the connection between baristas. In other countries like the United States, the guilds of baristas are very active, so it makes communication and sharing information more efficient. Also, their opinions are very well known and respected when compared to those in Korea. Another thing would be the machines. In Korea we have to import the machines but in some other countries, they make their own coffee machines and also do remodeling by applying the baristas’opinions and ideas.
SMT As you are one of the judgesof the national team, what is your judging standard for good coffee?
AN There is an international rule for judging such competitions. Each barista should bring up three cups; espresso, cappuccino, and a signature drink. Competing baristas give details and explanations of each coffee and we see how the explanation matches the taste. Passion is a very important part when judging, but also the skill to deal with coffee, knowledge, and service are very important standards.
SMT You have competed at the World Latte Art Championship as the representative of Korea. What is Latte Art? How many kinds are there and how is it done?
AN Latte Art is an art with milk, consisting of pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso that creates a pattern or design on the surface of the resulting latte. There are hundreds and hundreds of kinds. You can also use tools to create more patterns and designs but the works done by tools do not have a lot of meanings to me. To become a good Latte Artist I practiced three to six hours and spent twenty milk tanks every single day. After doing that for one and a half years, I could finally become satisfied with myself.
SMT You are having lectures to students. What are the good principles to become a barista? And do you have any advice to tell to future baristas?
AN As barista is considered as a hospitality industry, personality is very important for the relationships with customers. Baristas are performers. Strict self discipline is required to become a good barista because everything is exposed to the customers when you are performing. Self discipline, including time management is very important. This field will improve and will receive more attention. If you are dreaming to become a barista, have a broader mind. As this field has developed, many different related careers have also developed, such as coffee roaster. Find your very own talent and consider well, then make your choice.