Barista of the Week… Denis Iezzi, Barista at Zubi Bar, 323c Barrenjoey Road, Newport
The Coffee Guide (TCG): If you weren’t a barista what would you be?
Denis: Definitely a photographer. That’s one of my passions in life.
TCG: How do you have your coffee at home? How do you make it and how do you take it?
Denis: I hardly have any coffee at home. I usually start very early (5:45am) at the coffee shop, so I have my coffees when I get there. When I have days off, I normally visit other Cafes and have my breakfast there.
TCG: What’s the best thing about your job- the one thing that you really love aside from the coffee?
Denis: Definitely the interaction with our customers. We are very fortunate to have lots of very nice regular customers that now become friends and make our days even more enjoyable.
TCG: What is your favourite music? (For work or for play).
Denis: I am very eclectic about music, but at the moment I have been listening to a lot of Boy and Bear, Temper Trap, Regina Spektor, Bon Iver, Fat Freddy’s Dropp, and Mumford and Sons, among others…
TCG: What’s your favourite food?
Denis: Thai and Indian food are becoming very regular now. They are intense, full of flavor and yet very healthy.
TCG: Tell us what your best coffee experience was.
Denis: It was definitely a short black I had in Brazil in the city of Santos. In Brazil the latte art is not as spread out or developed as it is here in Australia, so don’t expect to have a nice 3/4 latte or piccolo latte everywhere, but the Short Black and Long blacks can be insane. Thecoffee I had in Brazil was the Floresta Coffee.
TCG: If you’re not drinking coffee, what is your drink of choice?
Denis: Fresh Fruit Juice, especially if I can find Açai Juice. Again it is the healthier choice and tastes amazing. But if I am dinning out I love having red wine with my meals and my favourite one is the Sangiovese or Chianchi from Italy.
TCG: What made you become a barista?
Denis: That was the first job opportunity that happened to me when I first arrived in Australia to study English. I’ve heard this coffee shop in the city was looking for baristas, so I went there to ask for a job. The manager asked me if I have ever made a coffee on an espresso machine before, I said no, then he said “ok you can start next Monday then”.
TCG: What food do you think is the best compliment to a really great coffee?
Denis: A good sourdough toast with poached eggs, avocado and Parmesan. I think it is a perfect combination.
TCG: How many coffees would you make in the average day?
Denis: 550 coffees on average.
TCG: What’s the largest amount of coffees you have made in a day?
Denis: Probably 750 – 800 coffees during Newport Market day
TCG: Who would make a better coffee, King Kong or Godzilla?’
Denis: Definitely King Kong. Godzilla drinks tea.
TCG: Where has your coffee making taken you?
Denis: To Newport … for now.
TCG: What is the most exciting thing happening in coffee right now for you?
Denis: Drinking coffee is now part of the Australian culture and the customers are becoming more appreciative and demanding, so in order to retain customers the coffee shops have to make great coffees consistently.
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?
Denis: That place would be Berlin and I would have a short black and a 3/4 latte. I haven’t been to Berlin YET, but a lot of my well-traveled friends are telling me that Berlin is currently one of the best destinations in the world. Very young, friendly, and full of great places to visit.
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?
Denis: I think it would be nice serving a short black to Ernest Hemingway whilst he was writing one of his books, or to Bob Dylan whilst he writes a new song. Maybe to Muhammad Ali right before a big fight ….
TCG: Where is your favourite place to hang out in Sydney?
Denis: So many places … but I love Newtown, Surry Hills and Darlinghurst to dine-out or to visit new coffee shops. They have lots of great options, from alternative places to very sophisticated ones.
TCG: What’s your favourite time of the year?
Denis: Summer definitely. People look much more active and happy during this time of the year, not to say how good it is to go to the beach in summer.