March Barista of the Month – Meet Simaran

Kristy Aylmore

Monday, 27 March 2023

Located inside the luxury MACq01 Hotel on Hobart’s waterfront. Old Wharf restaurant is a café & restaurant catering to inhouse guests as well the local area.

Chef Alvin Sim and his team acknowledge the local history by creating a menu that celebrates and explores Tasmania’s traditional family dishes. Reimagined and refined, this menu gives a nod to the past while championing the celebrated local produce and boutique Tasmanian growers.

We take 5 to chat to Head Barista, Simran Bal and ask her to tell us about her relationship with coffee and share any handy tips she has mastered on the way.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was living and working in Melbourne, waiting tables and watching how the barista worked and keen to learn new things. I’d been working front of house for so long and saw the compliments that the barista received for great coffee, so I wanted to learn to be in that position. I asked the manager If I could work as a barista and they said no. I pleaded for a trial shift and said I will return to waiting if you’re not happy. I had been watching closely for so long and did a good job, to the managers surprise, and they kept me on the machine.

What is your favourite part of working as a Barista?

It’s great to meet new people, not only to serve great coffee, but to get to know them and brighten up their day with a good conversation. We’re not only giving coffee, we’re giving memories. I like when they come in with a bad mood and leave with a good mood.

If you could give baristas one tip to help baristas make better coffee, what would it be?

I would say to use the right dose of coffee, use scales and keep an eye on your milk temperature. Be knowledgeable about your coffee and other ingredients your using. Know where your coffee is from and how it should taste so you can talk to your customers about it.

What is your go to coffee order?

A Soy Latte or a Flat White. If I need more of a caffeine hit, a long black with a dash of milk.

What do you think is special about Grinders Coffee?

I love the aroma when I open a bag of Grinders coffee. Every time I fill the hopper I smell the empty bag (I do this too, every time – Jono). Grinders supported us with a batch brewer and single origin coffee which I love and the customers do too. It’s great to offer to long black drinkers and to improve speed of service.  Grinders are also always quick to support with any technical issues that happen.

What makes your cafe a great place to work?

I really like the environment, it’s a hotel, but we know about coffee and are a destination café providing a good environment and customer experience. It makes me happy and gives me confidence in what we do!

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