Jo Higham – The Barista

Jo Higham joined the NZ Barista Guild yesterday, meet our newest member now!
What is your earliest coffee related experience?
It was when I would go to cafes with friends & in spite of not being a coffee drinker, just loving the aromas & the way the coffee’s looked. It seemed like art to me.
When / why did you first get working in coffee?
I was working at an Irish Bar of all places in 2007 when they brought themselves a brand new machine. I was terrified of the thing! Would not go near it. One day I had no choice so after a ten minute lesson I was off. I got proper training when I went to work with Esquires Coffee Houses, which I went on to manage then that was it! I was hooked. Everything about it is awesome. I don’t drink coffee myself but I make sure that my customer gets exactly what they expect by using my other senses.
What led you to becoming a barista?
It was the only job that I had that was really satisfying. I find the whole experience fun & I take it very seriously. I love teaching people how to make coffee also but I can’t wait to learn more. I believe I’ve only just touched the tip of the iceberg.
What is the best part of your job?
My customers. I love seeing my regulars every day. Knowing what time they are coming in & having their coffee ready for them. Its satisfying. Also teaching new skills to the cafe staff. Its so rewarding when you can show someone something they didn’t know or solve an issue they were having.
Talk us through a typical work day
Head in & open the cafe, make some food then await my customers. As I now work in McCafe I have to switch between to two but cafe is my baby. Everyone knows that too! We open at 6am & I normally have my first customer just on open.
What are your roles outside of making coffee?
Im a wife & a mother who is starting to explore a new found passion in photography. My husband & I are also looking to set up a little coffee shop out of a crate someday soon! Watch this space!
What is your favourite brew method and/or coffee origin and why?
I honestly couldn’t say. I only really know espresso but I am so looking forward to learning more. I’m open for knowledge!
Tulip or rosetta?
What would be your dream ‘coffee experience’?
To wake up & be told I’m going to spend a week in the company of any of the NZBG Board member! That they were going to teach me new & exciting things. That would be awesome.
Do you have a ‘coffee crush’ (person you most respect in the business)?
Sarah Kennard. I met her recently & now have read her profile. She was awesome & a great teacher. I hope to be able to teach my future students the way she can.