A shot of espresso is much more than a caffeine fix to Michal Mejran, head barista at Taylor St Baristas on South Quay.
“It’s a reflection of my nature to explore and know more about the world,” said the 26-year-old.
“I find myself constantly curious and the more I’m in the coffee industry, the more I’m interested. You realise how little you know and how much there is left to explore.”
Michal barely has time to treat himself to one of the brand’s three speciality blends before he’s steaming milk or measuring beans as hundreds of east Londoners arrive for a flat white.
He said many bustled in and out at 8am, grabbing a cup en route to Canary Wharf, while others confessed a deeper interest allowing him to share his knowledge including via the cafe’s home barista courses.
“Some customers want the kick of caffeine, some people want the experience of interaction with a barista and some people are looking for flavours,” he said.
“It really depends, but as a barista you try to explore the options so they get what they want. Coffee should be served as people like it but it’s all about communication and being open-minded to trying new things.
“People got used to the Italian type of coffee, really strong and generally really bitter, but now those in the industry are trying to engage people more. They’re encouraging people to explore with more tastings.”
The south Londoner will be representing Taylor St at the London Coffee Festival from April 30. And his personal thirst for knowledge has seen him shift his focus from blending to roasting – discovering sites including Union Coffee’s east London base.
“It gives me a chance to explore what’s behind the blends beforehand,” he said. “As a barista, I only get the ready-made product to brew.
“I’m curious about what’s affected the process before I get it in my hands.”
Taylor St Baristas has branches at Harbour Exchange and South Colonnade. Home barista courses at the former cost £85pp.
Go to taylor-st.com .