Where it all began
The first I heard of The Barista, Sam was a colleague of mine, employed part-time whilst working hard to get this business off the ground, and I was planning a year away to see the world. Now, fresh back from Melbourne, I’m sitting here surrounded by hoards of coffee machines, grinders, stock and equipment, having just done my first event as the first full-time employee of The Barista. It’s a far cry from when I left 12 months ago.
Setting up in the exhibition hall
So, within two weeks of arriving back from sunny Oz to the chill of the Great British winter, I was off to Manchester along with a few other regular event baristas to represent The Barista at the Diabetes UK annual congress. With a couple of clients to take care of and two coffee bars to set-up we arrived early to make sure we had plenty of time to get everything absolutely spot on and ready for a seamless service. Sam had previously warned me that when left unsupervised, trolleys had a strange ability to wander off. I soon learnt the harsh reality of the exhibition hall when our trolley disappeared. After a quick scout around the hall, we soon found it being pushed around by a guy who claimed that Gary said he could have it. We don’t know Gary. Good job I’d been busy with the spray paint branding our logo onto all our kit the week before!
The mobile coffee service
The next day we had a very early start to make sure that when our clients arrived, the coffee machines were up to temperature and we were fully dialed in and ready to greet them with a morning coffee before diving into full service. The coffees went down an absolute treat and despite short queues during the very busy conference breaks, we managed to ensure everyone got a tasty coffee in good time. By the time we had finished service on the first day we had made over 500 coffees on my coffee bar and our fellow baristas had done around 400 on their coffee bar too. With the delegates having a keen taste for our lattes and cappuccinos we needed to replenish our milk stock for the next day. I had taken delivery of 240 pints of milk from the local organic dairy prior to the event but it was my first time having to do a milk run during an event. 210 litres of milk later and looking like we might be ‘gallon smashing’ on an industrial scale, we were restocked and ready for another busy day!
On the second day, the same faces returned to our client’s stand (Sanofi) for the coffee. There seemed to be a buzz around the hall for ‘Sanofi Coffee’ and we were repeatedly told that people had been recommended to come and try our coffee. The power and effectiveness of serving quality coffee on behalf of your client at an event was even greater than I had envisioned. This excited me and spurred me on to keep kicking out as many coffees as possible, making sure each and everyone was of great quality. All the reps on the Sanofi stand were impressed with the level of service and coffees we provided, which for us, that is one of the most important things.
After an even busier second day’s service we retreated to what had fast become our favorite restaurant in Manchester, the local Indian. One thing Sam learnt was to always specify what size naan bread you wanted when ordering, otherwise you might end up with one the size of your torso!
Friday was yet another early start and a busy morning looking after our regular coffee bar guests. Once the conference and exhibition had closed we performed one of the quickest breakdowns possible and we were on the road back to Leeds. We were all extremely satisfied with our 3 day exhibition coffee bar service and delighted that our clients had thought so highly of us and the service we provided. I can’t think of a better feeling to take into the weekend.
Whilst working in Melbourne I developed a lot of passion for making coffee and wanted to continually improve my knowledge, skill and ability as a barista and make the best possible coffee for my customers. To have the opportunity to come into a company where the same values are so pronounced is great for me and makes going to work something I really look forward to.
I am now working on a complex brief for our next event, which will see us cater for high profile guests at an exclusive event in central London. I’m really looking forward to delivering a service at an event that I have been involved in the organisation of, and true to The Barista’s very nature, we will be doing everything possible to exceed expectations.