The Coffee Masters contenders can brew and cup better than most people, but how will they measure up in a little interview?
In our third Barista Face Off, testing the competitors' wit and knowledge, we pit two baristas against each other who have created dark, sophisticated, alcoholic Signature Drinks
James Bailey chose an iced Kabingara AA with rum, cachaça and absinthe, while Craig Simon selected cold brew with Starward Whisky and six dashes of bitters.
Two baristas; five questions
Now, we see how their answers measure up in our Barista Face Off!
James Bailey from the UK vs. Craig Simon from Australia
How do you take your coffee?
I don’t take it. It’s not medicine. 1
Black and frequently – is it too risqué to say orally? 1
Whiskey or Craft Beer?
I know very little about either but drink more beer than whisky. 0
I think you meant to say Whiskey AND Craft Beer. 1
Most awkward moment in your coffee career?
I really shouldn’t have won the UK brewer’s cup in 2012. I brewed the winning coffee for the first time on the morning of the competition - Finca Suiza roasted by James Gourmet. I knew next to nothing about it, and had no routine, and so felt very put on the spot when it turned out I had won. 0
Craig: When a very attractive customer said to me “it’s lucky your name is the same as my husband’s, otherwise I might get in trouble.” 1
Favourite Coffee Destination (café/city)?
London is the only city whose coffee scene I’m slightly familiar with. Besides all the Workshop cafes, The Association, Esters and Embassy East are firm favourites. I went to New York recently and drank a lot of shitty drinks, but did enjoy the big clunky diner coffee mugs. 1
Melbourne – the choice is endless for great cafes. 0
What advice would you offer to people new to the world of speciality coffee?
Consciously taste everything you put in your mouth, and befriend those who can talk about things other than just coffee. 1
Keep an open mind and try lots of coffee. 0
Winner: it's a DRAW - 3 points each!