Barista Of The Week… Simon Chiovitti

Barista of the Week… Simon ‘Chippa’ Chiovitti
Barista at 63 Degrees,
140 Pakington Street, Geelong West, VIC

The Coffee Guide (TCG): What coffee do you use at work?
Chippa: We use a specialty custom house blend roasted by the legendary Carlos & Nikki from Roastcraft. It’s a quatro bean mix of Indonesian Batak, Columbian Inza, Guatemalan Antiqua & Carmo Estate from Brazil. We also offer varying single origins week-to-week. At the mo’ we have a Brazilian Minas Hill Estate and it’s seriously the bee’s knees!

TCG: If you weren’t a barista what would you be?
Chippa: I’d probably be a struggling street artist doing commission work to pay for my caffeine addiction. That, or a pro basketballer. Free Agent anyone?

TCG: How do you have your coffee at home? How do you make it and how do you take it?
Chippa: You can’t beat a good cup of International Roast. Nah! I very rarely make it at home when I can get a good Cadenza at work just down the road.

TCG: What’s the best thing about your job- the one thing that you really love aside from the coffee?
Chippa: It’s a Mecca for networking, ideas, creativity, love & laughter. Being a part of this truly is a very satisfying thing when you think about it. Oh, and I get free grub an’ that!

TCG: What is your favorite music?
Chippa: We have nothing but City & Colour & David Gray looped continuously daily. Not! At the mo’ I’m listening to a bit of Seth Sentry, Beastie Boys, Alpine and a bit of ol’ school Pumpkins. That should get me some muso cred!

TCG: Tell us what your best (or first) coffee experience was.
Chippa: Growing up in an Italian household as a child I loved when my Nonno would get the old moka pot out after dinner and brew up an espresso for all the family & friends. My brother and I always went back for a second cup. We wouldn’t sleep till like 2am in the morning and then hit struggle town midway through school the next day. Good times.

TCG: If you’re not drinking coffee, what is your drink of choice?
Chippa: Prob’s a cheeky Cider or two. Flying Brick or a glass of Thatcher’s Katy. Nothing better after hours or on a lazy weekend with friends.

TCG: What made you become a barista?
Chippa: Like I mentioned, I grew up with coffee. Before I was even knee-high I used to always steal the head off my parent’s latte’s. Mid 90’s my folks took over a small cafe and I started helping make coffee during uni holidays. It just felt like a natural progression.

TCG: Do people often try and chat you up at work? Have you ever taken the offer up?
Chippa: Not really, but Wes the dishy always touches me on the bum and says ‘behind’.

TCG: What food do you think is the best compliment to a really great coffee?
Chippa: Definitely a dusted crostoli or an almond croissant.

TCG: How many coffees would you make in the average day?
Chippa: 300 – 500.

TCG: Does your coffee style (or how you drink it) say something about you?
Chippa: Being a barista it’s every which way, but loose. Coffee style reflects the moment. I am susceptible however to a good single origin double ristretto espresso or latte’s at work just to keep the rosettas in check.

TCG: What is the most exciting thing happening in coffee right now for you?
Chippa: Probably that we are right in the middle of a café revolution. So many café’s are stepping up to the demand for great coffee, alternative brewing methods and pushing the boundaries of unique venue styling. Boutique roasting, cold drip & siphoning, Pop up café’s & Streetart. We’re being spoilt for choice and I love being apart of it. This growing, evolving monster of coffee culture.

TCG: Is decaf a dirty word?
Chippa: Read the shirt!

TCG: What is your favourite alternate brewing method?
Chippa: Definitely the old moka pot. I mean it’s where it all started. Friends, family and A.D.D!

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