Thursday, 25 August 2011

Barista Profile: Andrew Long, Ground

Hello. Who are you?
Andrew "big hair" Long

And what do you do?
Barista - Ground, Kemptown

And what is that in detail?
Someone with a flair for good quality coffee

When did you first discover real coffee?
I've always known about it, but was only exposed to it's true potential over a year ago. It was like this big secret in the UK where suddenly someone turned on the lights and went, "hang on why am I in Starbucks? I can drink better coffee from that lovely little place across the road with flowers in the window. I also get treated like a human being.

How did you get started in the coffee trade and learn your skills?
I've had to use a machine at some point in the majority of the jobs I've had whilst growing up. Some of the skills learned along the way have been exotic to say the least in method and madness. 

Being asked to pour instant granules into a grinder as a fresh faced 18 year old will never cease to amaze me. But the past 18 months have been a real eye opener and a privilege since moving to Brighton. 

What is the best thing about doing what you do?
The people you meet. Customers and colleagues alike. I'm not just a machine, and neither are you. Find me another job where you can be yourself and you'd be lying.

What drink do you make best?
I make a damn fine Cappuccino but my best drink is Espresso. I take great pride in trying to make it the best you've ever had.

What are the top 3 things you should you look out for from your neighbourhood barista

  • Someone who engages with you on a personal level. 
  • Not being afraid to voice their own opinion. 
  • Not baffling customers with your extensive and often boring knowledge of blends at 7am. It's dull and unnecessary, lets be honest. 

Working in a good cafe with good people you end up seeing how bad alot of other cafes are. Right from service to the drink. It's the snobbery that annoys me. How can you be a coffee snob when your coffee is about as exciting as being slapped around the face with a side of pork? Cafes are places where people go to every single day of their life. It's part of their routine which you end up being part of. Show some respect.

A home coffee brewing trick or technique?
Be good to your beans. Use a nice cup.

What do you look for in a good bean or blend?
Balance and honesty. If you like it, great. If you don't, stop pretending to be the blurb on the back and throw it away.

What do you drink yourself?
There's an "in" joke at work that I HAVE to have a sugar in my coffee because I'm not hardcore enough to take it straight. This is true to an extent. I only ever put sugar in milk based coffee because to me they resemble a cake. And cakes have sugar. 

However, my preference would be a strong small black coffee, either a single origin fresh filter or espresso based long black.

What is your favourite professional machine and grinder?La Marzocco, Compak K-10

What is the most important part of the coffee process- the growing, the roasting, the blending, the brewing or anything in between?
It's all important. mess one process up and it has a knock on effect.
How do you make coffee at home?
Aeropress. I'm currently experimenting with Turkish coffee.

Anything else you want to say?
I'm also very font of fine cheese and American country pop music. Don't hold it against me.

Andrew, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. 

Andrew in action unedited

Andrew works at Ground one of the premiere coffee houses in Brighton.
Map: here
Twitter: @Ground_Coffee
Original review:

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