There comes a time in most baristas’ lives when coffee just isn’t exciting any more. Great pours don’t inspire you. You put that little bit less effort into each espresso. You stop trying new beans. That thrill that used to come with each sip of a spectacular coffee just isn’t there.
That’s okay. Life is a rollercoaster; not all of it is peaks. But just because you’ve hit that plateau doesn’t mean you have to stay there. So I spoke to some incredible baristas to find out where their motivation comes from. Let’s look at 5 tips for becoming excited about coffee again.
1. Give Yourself an Aim
If coffee isn’t exciting you right now, find something about it to get excited over. What area of coffee normally inspires you? Focus on that do and set yourself new goals. My personal kick-starter, when I feel myself losing that spark, is latte art. I look up two or three new designs on social media, try to find a video tutorial, and practise them until I’ve perfected it.
Don’t forget to look in other places too, though. Who knows where passion could strike from? Communicate with your customers; ask them what they enjoy about coffee and how you could make it better for them. Discovering new ways to improve might be the motivation you’re looking for.
Experiment with your coffee making, whether we’re talking espresso or manual brewing. Dosages, coffee grind, water ratio, extraction parameters, water temperature, agitation – whatever gets you closer to the heart of good coffee. And as you see the impact of your barismo on the final cup, you’ll remember why your job is so wonderful.
You might even find it useful to identify and improve your weak points. This will really give you that feeling of achievement. And if it’s hard? Don’t give up! I understand the frustrations of trying so hard and just not getting certain things right. But persevere, because when you finally succeed it’ll be that much better.
2. Be Part of a Coffee Community
Finding like-minded people is a vital part of staying inspired. Our entire job centres around people. They come into our shops, they work with us, and they inspire us. And when chatting to other baristas about this article, they were the topic that came up again and again. So connect with coffee friends or find other passionate baristas to hang out with and chat coffee. This will keep your creative coffee juices flowing!
Talk with roasters and baristas at local cafés to find out about events like cuppings, latte art throwdowns, or coffee meets. Find a local place where you can share your love for coffee – and your questions. Can’t find one? Start your own. Trust me, there are other people feeling exactly the same way you are.
If you still can’t find your community, I find that social media is the next best thing. Check out a few groups and forums – like the Perfect Daily Grind group. This is an important part of your growth as a coffee professional, so get connected.
3. Share Your Passion
Sharing your passion will leave even more passionate about it. So whether it’s at your café, in a training centre, or on stage, keep telling other people about the wonders of coffee.
You can share your coffee passion with your community, but it’s also good to share it with someone new to the industry. If you can spark a passion in your customer, you will have changed how they think about coffee forever. And what’s more inspiring than that?
For some people – including myself! – the stage can be an intimidating place. However, for you this might be the perfect opportunity to showcase your coffee and your talent. The platform allows you to share your love with equally passionate judges, and celebrate the very best coffee you can make. And the competition aspect might be just what you need to drive you towards greater coffee excellence.
4. Follow The Best
I just said that social media is a great place to network. It’s also a chance to follow the most awe-inspiring coffee pros around. From World Barista Champions to revolutionary producers, you’ll get to see your icons as they practice their skills and share their own passion. Talk about inspirational!
What’s more, this is where you’ll see the newest innovations happening. And if you keep up to date as this industry evolves, you’ll never get bored. There will always be something new to learn. So link in and get following!
5. Taste Something New
There’s nothing more exciting than a new bag of coffee from one of my favourite roasteries. I like to study the bag to build up my anticipation. Cranberry, honey and chocolate notes, best brewed with a Chemex or V60? Let the brewing begin!
Oh, and be open-minded. Try something new. Don’t rule out roast profiles, origins, or brewing methods just because you weren’t keen on them in the past – the next one might just take you by surprise.
And you know what? This works great with some of the other numbers on this list. Try following the roaster on social media. I’m always amazed by their efforts to get the best out of the coffee. And knowing their hard work really heightens my experience.
You can also share the coffee, and your opinion on it, with your coffee communities. It’s always great to have a second, third and even fourth opinion when trying a new coffee. Other people may pick up flavours you didn’t notice – but you will next time.
Everyone gets into a rut sometimes. But don’t let yourself stay there. Try new challenges and new coffees. Surround yourself with great people. Keep learning, keep growing, keep sharing, keep drinking coffee and, most of all, keep spreading coffee happiness with the people around you. Because there’s no better way to stay in love with coffee.
Written by Shaun Aupiais with thanks to Brad Bauder, Ishan Natalie and Dean Mackay for their contributions.
Perfect Daily Grind
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