Barista of the Week… Kira De Hayr
Barista at Shenkin Café, 53 Erskineville Road, Erskineville
The Coffee Guide (TCG): What coffee do you use at work?
Kira: We use Mecca’s Dark Horse as our ‘house blend’ and also offer single origins on rotation.
TCG: If you weren’t a barista what would you be?
Kira: I’d be a teacher, a translator, a travel writer, a bookshop owner, a fashion designer, a jewellery maker, a sex therapist, a hula hoop performer, a fairy face painter at kids’ birthday parties… there are not enough minutes in a lifetime to be all the things I want to be and do all the things I want to do!
TCG: How do you have your coffee at home? How do you make it and how do you take it?
Kira: Filter coffee! Delicious, delicate filter coffee – preferably through an Aeropress.
TCG: What’s the best thing about your job- the one thing that you really love aside from the coffee?
Kira: Meeting people, watching people, studying people.
TCG: What is your favourite music? (For work or for play).
Kira: Techno for playtime, hip hop for worktime and whatever else I fancy listening to along the way… I love karaoke so I enjoy putting on music at work that I can sing along to (Queen being an all-time favourite).
TCG: What’s your favourite food?
Kira: Japanese food is my all-time favourite. The flavours are so clean and delicate, and the presentation is so artistic and beautiful. I feel there is a real elegance with how Japanese food is prepared and how it is consumed.
TCG: Tell us what your best (or first) coffee experience was.
Kira: My very first coffee experience would have been eating the chocolaty foam off my mother’s cappuccino when I was a little girl. It was always soooo big and soooo fluffy and smelt delicious!
TCG: If you’re not drinking coffee, what is your drink of choice?
Kira: Can’t go past a good glass of water! Otherwise I like craft beer (Delirium Tremens being my favourite) and a nice bottle of wine.
TCG: What made you become a barista?
Kira: I found the whole process of making coffee fascinating, so I just jumped on board! Seven years later… here I am!
TCG: Do people often try and chat you up at work? Have you ever taken the offer up?
Kira: Haha, I got asked out by a customer recently…. we’ve been inseparable ever since!
TCG: What food do you think is the best compliment to a really great coffee?
Kira: Pastries! Shenkin make the best chocolate croissants I have ever devoured (I came to this conclusion before I started working here, so I’m not being biased) and a little piccolo to wash it down is such a treat!
TCG: Who would make a better coffee, King Kong or Godzilla?
Kira: King Kong for sure – Godzilla’s arms are too short!
TCG: Where is your favourite place to hang out in Sydney?
Kira: I love the Inner West – particularly Marrickville. Grab a takeaway pour over at Coffee Alchemy and go soak up some sun in the park across the road. Bliss.
TCG: What did you do on your last day off?
Kira: I like to go out for coffee and breakfast – it’s nice being on the other side of the counter for a change.
TCG: In a good cup of coffee, how much of it is due to the barista and how much is due to the beans?
Kira: Both are required to make a good cup of coffee – I feel that everything that is involved in making a good coffee relies on something else. So many variables, it’s what makes coffee so exciting!
TCG: Is decaf a dirty word?
Kira: A dirty chai is even dirtier.
TCG: Is specialty tea the new cappuccino?
Kira: Specialty tea is a whole other entity to something like a cappuccino, or espresso coffee in general. I think tea is closer to filter coffee in its consistency and the delicacy of flavour. But nothing will overshadow coffee – its society’s drug of choice!
TCG: What is your favourite kind of tea?
Kira: Maccha, sencha, oolong and licorice.
TCG: What is your favourite alternate brewing method?
Kira: Aeropress! So quick, so easy and minimal mess.
TCG: Where do you see alternate brewing methods going?
Kira: I would love to see a syphon bar, or just a filter coffee only cafe open in Sydney.
TCG: What ever happened to the Clover?
Kira: There are so many alternative-brewing methods available, in comparison the clover machine is just an expensive investment and a time consuming way of making coffee. I think the other filter methods are more appealing because they’re more accessible to customers too – it’s a lot easier and cheaper to buy a pour-over or an aeropress and make a coffee yourself at home.