Behind every delicious latte and memorable mocha is a coffee enthusiast we know of as a “barista”. They may be the very first person we speak to in the morning, and their friendly smile and magic way with coffee can make a serious impact on the rest of our day.
BeanScene caught up with seasoned Brisbane barista Marcela (Aka Blue), who’s passion for coffee and positive disposition left a favorable impression, to discuss her 15 year journey in the coffee industry.
Colombian born, Blue and coffee were near neighbors, the Colombian traditional filter coffee “Tinto” an integral part of her childhood.
“Although I don’t come from a coffee farming family, I’ve drunk coffee since I was little. I remember at home there were Moka Pots in every size and my mom used to make Tinto with cardamom pods, cloves, and cinnamon,” reminisces Blue.
“I was born in Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, but grew up in Sogamoso, a small city three hours northeast of Bogotá.
“When I was 17, I went back to the capital to go to uni and work and when I was 18 I got my first job as a barista. It was with a big well known Colombian coffee company. They had this great training system and I just fell in love with all the science and processes behind a cup of coffee. I just wanted to learn more and more, and that’s how everything started.”
Fifteen years in any industry is a long time, and many find it difficult to keep their careers from feeling stale. Blue explained her love of coffee to us, and her vision for the future.
“I haven’t stopped wanting to learn all I can about it. Now, 15 years later, with some courses and international certifications under my name, I think I know a bit more. However, there is always so much more to learn. That’s my favorite part about coffee; the knowledge behind it,” she enthuses.
“I love learning about all the different stages in the coffee supply cycle and even more than that I love sharing that knowledge so that the industry can improve day by day.
“I dream of having my own coffee education center, with training facilities, sensory labs, and coffee events. I dream of hosting international certifications, creating a place for learning and networking where I can focus on what I love the most: sharing knowledge and connecting people to coffee. It’s an ambitious dream that requires a lot of investment, so for now I’ll keep learning, and keep sharing in small doses through networking and volunteering, as I work towards building this dream.”
You can find Blue at the newly opened Seven Miles Espresso Bar in Brisbane’s Craft’d Grounds enjoying a cup of her favourite coffee, a V60 single origin pour-over. Which single origin you may ask? It seems Blue’s love of learning and trying new things applies even to her personal taste preferences.
“As for which origin, variety, process, and cup profile? I like tasting all there is out there. There is a sea of possibilities,” she says. Blue is easy to spot with her signature blue head of hair and is happy share some of her knowledge and enthusiasm bean-by-bean.