The Barista – Rob Hulse

Rob works for Bell Tea & Coffee and has a background as a competitor and judge and is also giving back to the industry in his role on the NZ Barista Guild committee, find out more about Rob here
What is your earliest coffee related experience?
My first real coffee experience was in the first café I worked in when I was 17. I was given an espresso by Max the barista celebrity of Swanson. I was told that it wasn’t Milo and that I needed to expect intensity. I had to taste for bitterness and that way I would be in the right mind set to enjoy it.
When / why did you first get working in coffee?
I got into coffee in Swanson café to get out of washing dishes. Barista was the coolest job in the café and I wanted to be a part of it.
What led you to becoming a barista?
I started out as an honest apprentice. I fetched bags of coffee and rinsed jugs. I was given my first official barista lesson by Richard Goatley from Altezano.
What is the best part of your job?
Getting to drink awesome coffees.
Talk us through a typical work day
As a barista trainer I don’t have a typical work day. Usually It will involve visiting customers and checking coffee quality. Some days its latte art coaching while other days its back to basics.
What are your roles outside of making coffee?
I get to drink quite a lot of coffee as a quality controller at Bell and seeing cafes occupies a lot of my time. I’m also on the Barista Guild Committee so I spend some time setting up events for the barista guild.
What is your favourite brew method and/or coffee origin and why?
I love soft brew and my favorite method is Chemex. I like it because the flavor is really clean and I can make a whole jug of it. My favorite origin is Ethiopia. It’s big and bold and I don’t drink nearly enough of it.
Tulip or rosetta?
Shaky blob? I do love rosetta and it was great when the crowds would cheer a good rosetta in the WBC.
What would be your dream ‘coffee experience’?
I would like to buy a few tons of coffee. To do it right requires so much background knowledge of the coffee and of the markets. I imagine that your first “big buy” would be a real thrill.
Do you have a ‘coffee crush’?
I didn’t think I had a coffee crush until I judged James Hoffman at a judging workshop and gave him a 6 for total impression. I carry huge respect for all of the top baristas out there that push the boundaries and do amazing things.