The Barista – Ryan Clarke

Ryan has had a career in the army, has been involved in Barista Championship judging for a number of years and is now a member of the NZ Barista Guild committee. Find out more about Ryan now…
What is your earliest coffee related experience? My Mum sisters and I used to go to Robert Harris and share a cup of filter between the four of us… We were pretty poor back in those days and always went up for the free refill!
When / why did you first get working in coffee? I was 16/17 and worked in a few different hospo jobs before my first café. Firstly a boozer black power pub in Panmure, followed by a hotel as a waiter, then at a restaurant where Carl Simcox taught me how to make coffee that’s when I fell in love with the craft of coffee.
What led you to becoming a barista? It was 2003 having worked at a mediocre café I applied for a job at Columbus Coffee Botany at the time the Head barista Tyrone was the National 2nd and then 3rd place barista in the Barista Champs and I though he was the ducks nuts, God of coffee. I wanted to be just like him! He taught the difference between making a few coffees and being a barista.
What is the best part of your job? Meeting new people every day from all walks of life.
Talk us through a typical work day –……. Work my arse off…..
What are your roles outside of making coffee? I have owned 3 cafes now so I am a jack of all trades. But I always enjoy training and mentoring senior staff.
What is your favorite brew method and/or coffee origin and why? Never mind how cool all the pour over techniques are, I love espresso machine coffee! Any Central Americans take my fancy, in particular El Salvador, I’ve been getting through a bag on Honduras El Cedral COE that is pretty special.
Tulip or rosetta? I love latte art, but have never been to fussed either way to be honest. So long as its free poured I’m down.
What would be your dream ‘coffee experience’? I want to go to any farm in any part of South America. Not gonna be fussy about it, just anywhere!
Do you have a ‘coffee crush’ (person you most respect in the business)? Dave Burton aka Silver is my Hero!!!