Barista of the Week… Dean Abousaada
owner/barista at Abbott Street Espresso
7-9 Abbott Street Cammeray, NSW
The Coffee Guide (TCG): What coffee do you use at work?
Dean: Campos… using it the whole time for 2 years and 4days.
TCG: If you weren’t a barista what would you be?
Dean: Believe it or not, I’m only 32 and still young. I would be a life coach or a high-school teacher. I did some private study for this. I love communicating and seeing people do their best.
TCG: How do you have your coffee at home? How do you make it and how do you take it?
Dean: I use an aeropress or tradition Italian cafeteria. I generally have it black- no milk, no sugar, long black.
TCG: What’s the best thing about your job- the one thing that you really love aside from the coffee?
Dean: The people you get to connect with in the café setting. It’s a real interaction with no hierarchy. Doctors, surgeons, lots of professionals, but there are no titles here; it’s a real connection. No barriers. It’s just people as people having a coffee.
TCG: What is your favourite music? (For work or for play).
Dean: Mostly I find soul and jazz are best. Some rap, but it has to be quality rap, like a bit of Jay Z. And lots of Enya. You don’t get stuck in one, it has to be quality across the board.
TCG: What’s your favourite food?
Dean: Asian food, southeast. Noodles and Vietnamese right now, for the fresh herbs and chili and tasty sauces.
TCG: If you’re not drinking coffee, what is your drink of choice?
Dean: Single malt scotch on ice or quality cognac. I like the slow, smooth sipping and delicate flavours.
TCG: What made you become a barista?
Dean: It was almost purely by chance. I went for a job at as a host or senior waiter at a very busy place and the barista quit on the day I started. The owner asked me if I could make coffee and I just stepped up. The challenge and the thrill drove me from there. The pursuit if a great coffee gets you in. It appealed at the time and it still does.
TCG: How many coffees would you make in the average day?
Dean: Between 350-400 in my current location.
TCG: What’s the largest amount of coffees you have made in a day?
Dean: About 800 on my own in a day. At a festival.
TCG: Does your coffee style (or how you drink it) say something about you?
Dean: Not really. It’s all about your mood at the time. I have tons of books about coffee- I have the coffee oracle, but it depends on your mood at the time.
TCG: Where do all the old baristas go?
Dean: … Into hiding! You respect solitude when you get some time alone.
TCG: What is the most exciting thing happening in coffee right now for you?
Dean: People are really thirsty for coffee knowledge and education and it’s exciting that people want to know more. Coffee has almost 3 x the tastes of wine. It’s an opportunity for anyone on the industry and a chance to be an ambassador for the industry.
TCG: If you could pick one spot in the world to sit and have a coffee, where would it be and what coffee would you have?
Dean: I’d have coffee in Damascus, Syria. In the old city. I’d sip on a long black followed by a traditional bath.
TCG: If you could make coffee for one other person of your choice (anyone- past or present), who would it be and what coffee would you make them?
Dean: Chuck Norris, he’s a tough man, but I’d make him a decaf soy latte.
TCG: Where is your favourite place to hang out in Sydney?
Dean: Surry hills- I love hanging there. It’s vibrant and it’s full of quality coffee culture.
TCG: What did you do on your last day off?
Dean: I took a long bike ride in the morning, followed by snorkeling at Clovelly. Then I spent a bit of time reading and then café hopped in Surry Hills.
TCG: In a good cup of coffee, how much of it is due to the barista and how much is due to the beans?
Dean: It’s all about respecting the whole process. A bad barista can mess up great beans, but a great barista can make good coffee with average beans. It’s what you do with the beans. But you can screw up truffle or anything amazing if it’s not treated right.
TCG: Is decaf a dirty word?
Dean: No. Not at all. It’s a good word. It’s all good. A good decaf can surprise people; it’s a bit of a challenge.
TCG: What is your favourite kind of tea?
TCG: What is your favourite alternate brewing method?
Dean: Cold drip. I love it. I don’t have it yet at the cafe, but we did have it over summer and I will get it back again. It’s part of the education. It’s soft and smooth with delicate flavours that you would normally miss with intense espresso. Once people have that… they really are surprised. I was giving it away and people really liked it.