Barista of the Week… Lisa Tranter
Head Barista, Gumption by Coffee Alchemy,
The Strand Arcade, Shop 11 Ground Floor,
412-414 George Street Sydney
The Coffee Guide (TCG): What coffee do you use at work?
Lisa: Coffee Alchemy of course.
TCG: If you weren’t a barista what would you be?
Lisa: I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be right now.
TCG: How do you have your coffee at home? How do you make it and how do you take it?
Lisa: I don’t drink much coffee at home. But on the occasion I do, I have a chemex.
TCG: What’s the best thing about your job- the one thing that you really love aside from the coffee?
Lisa: As cliché as it sounds I love my customers! I love the relationship we develop over the counter. I have some customers from my old jobs who have followed me from place to place and they have become good friends who I catch up with on occasion.
TCG: What is your favourite music? (For work or for play).
Lisa: I can listen to anything from classical to hardcore. At the moment though I’ve been listening to a lot of hip-hop/rap.
TCG: If you’re not drinking coffee, what is your drink of choice?
Lisa: I’ve been into boutique beer lately, my boyfriend and I get a new one almost every week to try, and I love checking out breweries. Beer is similar to coffee, with unique flavour profiles and different brew techniques. Like coffee there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.
TCG: What made you become a barista?
Lisa: I have no idea…. I started as a waitress and I progressed from there. All I can say is I absolutely love it! I love the challenge of finding that sweet spot in an espresso, experimenting with brewing methods, checking out what other cafes and espresso bars are doing, talking machines and cool new tech toys with my friends, comparing rosetta symmetry. I’m a coffee geek!
TCG: Do people often try and chat you up at work? Have you ever taken the offer up?
Lisa: Ha! Yes, it’s happened on occasion and yes, I have gone on a few dates.
TCG: What food do you think is the best compliment to a really great coffee?
Lisa: Cake! There is something about going out for coffee and cake- they seem to go hand in hand.
TCG: How many coffees would you make in the average day?
Lisa: I used to count, but now I judge it by how much coffee ends up on my clothes and in my shoes.
TCG: What’s the largest amount of coffees you have made in a day?
Lisa: When I worked my local festival day we made around 1000 from 5.30am to around 4pm.
TCG: Does your coffee style (or how you drink it) say something about you?
Lisa: I don’t think it has so much to do with your personality, but more to do with your mood. Even if you’re a hardcore coffee drinker, there’s something comforting about a flat white or latte on occasion.
TCG: Where do all the old baristas go?
Lisa: Never really thought about that… Where do they go?
TCG: Who would make a better coffee, King Kong or Godzilla?
Lisa: Godzilla has small arms like a T-Rex, I’ve tried to make coffee with T-Rex arms, it’s tricky. So King Kong for sure, and he’s less likely to eat you.
TCG: What is the most exciting thing happening in coffee right now for you?
Lisa: The most exciting thing at the moment is having the opportunity to work with everyone at Coffee Alchemy. Hazel has been a mentor to me since I met her in 2009. When I was offered a position on the team there was no hesitation in saying yes.
TCG: As a barista, what’s your next big plan?
Lisa: I would really like to travel! There are so many places to see and I want to go everywhere! I would love to visit a coffee plantation or two, see more of Europe, see Australia!
TCG: Where is your favourite place to hang out in Sydney?
Lisa: Aside from Alchemy, I don’t have favorite place yet. Living in the Blue Mountains, coming to Sydney wasn’t a regular thing until recently.
Now I’m here all the time and hearing about all these amazing places to see and coffee to try- I can’t wait to do some more exploring.
TCG: Do you have any pets?
Lisa: Yes lots of fur babies! I have 4 dogs; Jack, Floyd and Cruz who are all boisterous boxers and Elliot is my Cocker Spaniel. I also have a horse, Paris.
TCG: What did you do on your last day off?
Lisa: Gave my dog Elliot a much-needed haircut! And rode my horse.
TCG: In a good cup of coffee, how much of it is due to the barista and how much is due to the beans?
Lisa: I think even with a bad bean a barista should be able to make a good coffee. It can be hard though. Being able to work with a great bean definitely helps.
TCG: Is decaf a dirty word?
Lisa: No, I don’t think it is. It has its place in the industry with customers being more heath conscious these days. I’ve also had some pretty nice decafs.
TCG: What is your favourite alternate brewing method?
Lisa: At the moment I’m loving a good cold drip.
TCG: What ever happened to the Clover?
Lisa: I have no idea; it just dropped off the radar.
TCG: Will other methods fade away?
Lisa: No, not completely, as they say ‘all methods come and go, but they all attribute to a better understanding of the medium’.