Barista of The Week… Mario Fraietta
Barista at Art of Espresso, Young NSW
The Coffee Guide (TCG): What coffee do you use at work?
Mario: The Kombi Blend is our current house blend which is a “Kombination” of Ethiopian, Indian, El Sal and Sumatran beans and dedicated to the boss’s own VW Kombi. We also rotate on our second grinder our single origins or other experiments we choose to explore, our current favourite is the “Revolution Blend” which is a medium to dark roasted Ethiopian, Kenyan and Rwandan beans and dedicated to our love of vinyl records hence 33 & 1/3 Revolutions per minute and the roots of blues and roots music i.e. African artists who exported their rhythms to the western world just as coffee was exported to the west.
TCG: How do you have your coffee at home? How do you make it and how do you take it?
Mario: these days it is very rare to have coffee at home, I rely on the tried and trusted Bialetti two cup Moka caffettiera that I’ve been drinking since the age of 5! Black and amaro…
TCG: What is your favourite music? (For work or for play).
Mario: Work/Play? There is a difference?? We play our vinyl records all day at work, though they have been transferred to mp3 format and slightly edited, so my “personal” playlist that due to lyrical content or sheer noise that isn’t customer friendly includes many local and international “noise” bands: Magic Dirt, Adalita, The Drones, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Howlin’ Steam Train, You Am I, Nick Cave, Grinderman, PJ Harvey, At the Drive-in, Qotsa, Rowland S. Howard, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, Hendrix, Crazy Horse, Stooges etc. Work its more John lee Hooker, Stones, JJ Cale to more present day to present day roots/blues/ alternative indie – Xavier Rudd, JBT, Mama Kin, Jack White’s incarnations, The Shins, The National, Father John Misty etc
TCG: What made you become a barista?
Mario: 10 years in corporate Real Estate between Sydney and Rome working as an asset manager and really just looking forward towards my espresso when I woke up, before i got to work, mid-morning during work, after lunch, in the mid-afternoon…. I took the hint that my passion was coffee
TCG: What’s the largest amount of coffee you have made in a day?
Mario: On the large cart jobs I have done around 8kgs so around 450 takeaway cups… pity 99% were milk based! I look forward to working in Italy as a barista where 8kg means 900 espressos and a slow day behind the bar!
TCG:Does your coffee style (or how you drink it) say something about you?
Mario: It should, I only drink a Double shot espresso from a minimum 21gram basket… strong and to the point??
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?
Mario: a double shot espresso to the next decaf latte drinker…. Man up and drink a real coffee!
TCG: As a barista, what’s your next big plan?
Mario: combining coffee extraction with record playing whilst hanging at the beach barefoot with a posse of bikini clad doppio drinkers hanging around…. Oops I digress .
TCG: What did you do on your last day off?
Mario: I don’t get a day off, I have “days” off, the last involved riding my motorbike to Sydney from Young (400kms) seeing Xavier Rudd Live, a few days hanging at Bondi and Shelly beach or record shopping and gelato eating around the inner city & inner west, 3 course home cooked lunch & dinners with Mum & Dad, returning via the South Coast, stopping off in various towns to sample the coffees, hanging at Mollymook beach, more record shopping in Canberra and then back home after 7 days….
TCG: What is your favourite alternate brewing method?
Mario: wood fired, slow roasted, desmodromic valved, solar powered, KERS assisted, Higgs Boson inspired, Napoletano style
TCG: Where do you see alternate brewing methods going?
Mario: up in smoke?
TCG: Will other methods fade away?
Mario: crash and burn I say