Our event baristas are expert problem solvers! No two events are ever the same and there are always challenges and problems to overcome in order to achieve a successful event. From traveling to exciting unknown cities abroad to serving coffee to celebrities for some of the largest companies in the world, it’s safe to say that it can be a bit of a whirlwind! Whether it’s an exhibition, track day, or a corporate affair, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafting through the air is enough to energise and invigorate attendees. We sat down with Adam, one of our lead baristas to hear more about the ins and outs of the job as well as some of his favourite moments.
Q: How did you find your way into the world of event coffee?
A: It all began during my time working as a barista at the Colombian Coffee Company, where I honed my skills as a barista and eventually as a roaster. I enjoyed every aspect of brewing coffee, from selecting and roasting the beans to perfecting the extraction. Eventually, I realised I wanted to bring this joy and craftsmanship to a larger audience, that’s when I discovered event coffee catering. It offered the perfect opportunity to showcase my skills while creating memorable experiences for people in a setting that’s always changing!
Q: What sets event coffee service apart from regular coffee shops?
A: Event coffee service is a whole different ball game to coffee shop service! Unlike at cafes where customers will steadily come and go with the occasional rush, the crowds at events are constantly changing. Quality and efficiency are paramount, as queues can build very quickly and it’s important to make sure all guests get their coffee with minimal waiting. Also, being able to know the equipment you’re using inside and out is essential. If something goes wrong you don’t always have backup and so you need to be able to know how to fix things on the fly to ensure service isn’t disrupted.
Q: What do you consider the most important aspects of serving coffee at events?
A: First and foremost, quality is paramount. People have come to expect a certain standard of coffee, and it’s our job to exceed those expectations. This means using high-quality beans, grinding them fresh, and paying close attention to the brewing process. Secondly, engagement plays a significant role. Interacting with guests, answering their questions, and making personalised recommendations fosters a sense of connection and elevates the experience. Lastly, efficiency and organisation are vital for handling large volumes of orders swiftly and smoothly.
Q: Could you share a memorable coffee experience at Social Espresso that you’ve had?
A: Certainly! One event that stands out was the Google Zeitgeist event this year. The organisers requested several specialty coffee bars, which we set up and operated around the beautiful grounds of The Grove Hotel in Watford. It was incredible to witness the excitement and curiosity of the guests as they engaged in conversations about coffee and the newest tech. We even saw Prince William and a few other celebrities in attendance!
Q: How do you stay updated with coffee trends and techniques?
A: The coffee industry is ever-evolving, with new trends and techniques emerging regularly. To stay up to date, I attend coffee conventions, workshops, and barista competitions. Networking with fellow professionals and sharing knowledge is invaluable. Additionally, I’m an avid reader of industry publications, blogs, and coffee-related forums. Exploring various roasters, experimenting with different brewing methods, and staying curious allows me to continually expand my expertise.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring event baristas?
A: It’s definitely incredibly important to form a solid base of knowledge around coffee and the most common brewing methods. This will help you to hone your pallet and see how utilising different skills can affect the flavours in your brew. Once you do this you can use the coffee flavour wheel to help you to discern the different profiles. Bringing this knowledge to an event environment is fantastic as you can really go that extra mile for the clients. As events are also highly unpredictable, being able to improvise, adapt and troubleshoot on the job is vital to succeeding on the job! Finally, it’s always good to let your passion for coffee show in your work and have fun!