The Barista – Alan Bruce

Alan is training manager for Mojo Coffee and hails from Scotland, find out more about him here
What is your earliest coffee related experience?
Growing up in the highlands of Scotland in the 80’s, there wasn’t a lot of quality coffee around so most of my early experiences are not overly exciting. I think the first time I was aware of coffee being anything other than instant granules was when I moved to Denmark at 20 and was given coffee from a stovetop pot for the first time.
When / why did you first get working in coffee?
In 2003 I got a part time job while I was studying at University in Edinburgh, working as a barista at a coffee bar in a converted Police Box (like Doctor Who!). It was winter and there was no heating in the box, so it was pretty harsh.
What led you to becoming a barista?
I’d worked in Hospitality since I was 15 and was usually either in a kitchen, or behind a bar. So when I arrived in New Zealand in 2009, I felt like it would be a missed opportunity to not learn more about coffee (I was only supposed to be here for a year!).
What is the best part of your job?
Getting to introduce people to the wider world of coffee and seeing them leave with a new appreciation for their morning fix.
Talk us through a typical work day
I’m not sure I really have a ‘typical’ work day, but it might contain any of the following; training a new staff member, a group of school students, some of our wholesale customers or just someone who wants to learn; I’ll work a shift in one of our Wellington stores every now and again; sample roasting; drinking coffee.
What are your roles outside of making coffee?
I’m the trainer for all of our staff and run courses for the public ranging from cupping sessions to espresso training.
What is your favourite brew method and/or coffee origin and why?
I love using my siphon at home. There’s something about the process that I find really relaxing, so it’s perfect on a Sunday morning. I’ve been playing around with an Aeropress recently too and really enjoying it.
Tulip or rosetta?
Definitely rosetta. I can’t do tulips to save myself. My latte art is pretty ropey if I’m being honest!
What would be your dream ‘coffee experience’?
A trip to origin, either to Brazil or to Ethiopia. It would be amazing to visit the source of coffee and see the production process first hand, and to meet the people involved.
Do you have a ‘coffee crush’ (person you most respect in the business)?
Our Master Roaster, Lambros. He’s pretty old school