Ten Questions With… Aaron Wood, Barista at St. Ali, 12-18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne.
1.TCG: If you weren’t a barista what would you be?
Aaron: An Engineer. I dropped out of a mechanical engineering in Perth and moved to Melbourne to further my career in coffee.
2. TCG: How do you have your coffee at home? How do you make it and how do you take it?
Aaron: I don’t drink that much coffee at home. I would rather go to a cafe and pay someone to make me a good coffee than try and make it at home with a domestic grinder. Though I don’t mind the odd V60 pour-over, easy to brew, easy to clean.
3. TCG: What’s the best thing about your job- the one thing that you really love aside from the coffee?
Aaron: This is going to sound really cheesy, but the smile on the customers face when they experience something new in coffee. We recently landed our Don Pachi geisha from Panama and I served a regular soy latte drinker a taste of it that I made with a syphon and it blew them away.
4. TCG: What is your favourite music? For work and for play.
Aaron: Would have to be Arcade Fire, though I killed their latest album ‘The Suburbs’ for all my colleagues by playing it too much at work. Sorry Jono.
5. TCG: Tell us what your best (or first) coffee experience was?
Aaron: First? I remember drinking a flat white when I was 13 or 14 and thinking I was so cool for not having sugar in it.
6. TCG: Do people often try and chat you up at work? Have you ever taken the offer up?
Aaron: My girlfriend is watching me type this so all I can say is that I met her while working at Auction Rooms as a barista.
7.TCG: Where do all the old baristas go?
Aaron: Hopefully to train more baristas. It’s a war you know. Too many people still drinking tea that we need to battle.
8. TCG: Where has your coffee making taken you? Around Australia or the world?
Aaron: I went to Abu Dhabi in February for a week to train baristas for a wholesale account.
9. TCG: What has been your favourite moment as a barista? Is there one story that only happened to you because you are a barista?
Aaron: I got my coffee-stained, fingernail-bitten, group handle-calloused hands in a magazine advert for latte art, which is pretty funny. Never thought I would be a hand model.
10.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?
Aaron: Aeropress of Tenkangu at TW in Oslo. But not this year’s crop. I would go back in time to the 2008/9 crop. I had this coffee in Melbourne at SLAB just after it opened and it blew my head off. Fruit juice in a coffee cup.