Barista of the Week… Adam Hofbauer, head barista at Shirt Bar, Sussex Lane, Sydney CBD.
The Coffee Guide (TCG): If you weren’t a barista what would you be?
Adam: Probably an unemployed comedian.
TCG: How do you have your coffee at home? How do you make it and how do you take it?
Adam: Strong Piccs all the way. I have a Vibiemme Domobar Junior and a Mini Mazzer, they are like my children.
TCG: What is your favourite music? (For work or for play).
Adam: Soul, funk, hip-hop. As a general rule, white guys can’t make music. With the exception of John Farnham and Michael Jackson.
TCG: Tell us what your best coffee experience was.
Adam: Discovering my first wild coffee tree in the jungle of Ecuador.
TCG: If you’re not drinking coffee, what is your drink of choice?
Adam: Single malt whisky, because it has such subtle complexities and gives me a similar warm fuzzy feeling to that of a seriously well-extracted coffee.
TCG: What made you become a barista?
Adam: “Baristaring” suits my personality quite well, as one is able to chat to hundreds of people a day, listen to great music and drink awesome coffee all day. I guess I started waitering and realised that the gig with the most street cred in the café is that of the barista, so I gravitated towards that. How else could I afford my caffeine habit!?
TCG: What food do you think is the best compliment to a really great coffee?
Adam: Sparkling mineral water is the ultimate compliment to a good coffee. Nothing goes better with a strong Piccolo than a rich chocolate brownie. Coffee for me, is too flavorsome to pair with savoury food. I love a good coffee after a delicious meal but to have one with a meal… just seems wrong.
TCG: Does your coffee style (or how you drink it) say something about you?
TCG: Where do all the old baristas go?
Adam: The playboy mansion.
TCG: If you could pick one spot in the world to sit and have a coffee, where would it be, what coffee would you have and why?
Adam: On a mountain somewhere in Guatemala probably (with a coffee I brought from Sydney). Because nowhere is more picturesque and nowhere has coffee like Sydney.
TCG: What’s your favourite time of the year?
Adam: Springtime because it’s the perfect temperature, little humidity and people are the happiest.
TCG: In a good cup of coffee, how much of it is due to the barista and how much is due to the beans?
Adam: People ask me this all the time and I strongly believe that every little part of the process is integral. The beans, the roast, the temperature, the grind and the cleanliness of the machine, it all needs to be spot on.
TCG: Is decaf a dirty word?
Adam: Why not just have something good instead?
TCG: Is specialty tea the new coffee?