Questions with Brian Cole: Head barista at White Horse Coffee, Shop 2/137 Flora Street, Sutherland
The Coffee Guide (TCG): If you weren’t a barista what would you be?
Brian: I would like to think I’d be a sommelier or food critic, maybe with some fire performance on the side.
TCG: How do you have your coffee at home? How do you make it and how do you take it?
Brian: Generally a plunger or aeropress at home. I take it black and not too heavy on the coffee dose, probably 10 to 12 grams for a three-cup plunger. A bit more for the aeropress, depending on the coffee.
TCG: Do people often try and chat you up at work? Have you ever taken the offer up?
Brian: Not often that I notice! Everyone’s a bit nice and chatty in a good coffee shop, but I had one girl pick me up at work in five years of coffee. There’s been a few attempts the other way over the years too!
TCG: What food do you think is the best compliment to a really great coffee?
Brian: Anything with simple flavors, not too heavy, not too sweet. I personally really like bacon and filter or plunger coffee or a long black, but dark chocolate is great too, probably with an espresso or piccolo latte.
TCG: Does your coffee style (or how you drink it) say something about you?
Brian: Yes, definitely! There’s trends along types of people, it’s not surprising for a pretty young girl to drink a soy latte for instance, and people who take more than two sugars tend to be very interesting and extreme.
TCG: Where do all the old baristas go?
Brian: To the back!!! Or the roastery.
TCG: Tell us one thing about yourself that no one else really knows…
Brian: I know over 200 ways to caffeinate a man…
TCG: What has been your favourite moment as a barista?
Brian: I also play guitar and there was a delivery driver named John at the last job I had. We got to talking about music and stuff over the time we knew each other, and he said he had an old tube screamer (desirable overdrive pedal) that he wasn’t using, and was I interested? I said yes, and he brought it in the next week. He wouldn’t take payment; I’m still awed by that generosity.
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?
Brian: I generally prefer to stand at the bar to drink my coffee, but I think sitting somewhere on NZ’s South Island with a view having a long black on some top grade Ethiopian coffee would be hard to beat. But the view is definitely secondary to the quality in the cup!!
TCG: As a barista, that’s your next big plan?
Brian: I just did a big trip to the states actually! What comes next is a secret.