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Barista Stories: Andrei Clenciu of Perfect Simplu, Bucharest

Meet Andrei Clenciu, a professional… soldier who fell in love with specialty coffee as a home barista and soon after became a co-owner of Perfect Simplu that now features three amazing cafes in the vibrant capital of Romania, Bucharest.

Andrei travels all around Europe to compete in the AeroPress Championship, with significant achievements: 1st Place – Slovak, 2nd Place – Swiss and 3rd Place – Italian Aeropress Championship. In 2022 Andrei participated in the World Aeropress Championship in Vancouver, Canada. Andrei also won the first-ever Romanian Comandante Championship and since then hosted the next editions with his team and friends Dose.

Andrei’s competitive spirit not only helps him to grow his business and coffee skills but also transcends to his crew at Perfect Simplu, with baristas competing in various championships and competitions in Romania.

Barista Stories are sponsored by PUQpress.

Andrei, what is your first memory of coffee? 

My first memory and interaction with coffee is since childhood, when my grandpa was preparing his ibrik coffee and the entire kitchen was filled with the amazing aroma.

​​​​​What inspired you to pursue a career in the coffee industry, and how did you get started? What did you do before coffee?

I was inspired to leap by the networking and the community that grows around specialty coffee shops. I started as a home barista in 2016, and then my passion grew and carried me on the completion path until I finally decided that it was time to do our own coffee shop. 

What specific skills or lessons learned during your time in the military do you find most applicable in running specialty cafés? 

Discipline is the biggest asset! 

Tell us a bit about your cafés.

We currently have 3 specialty cafés under the brand Perfect Simplu Coffee Shop. The main inspiration was Brancusi’s art and its simplicity [Andrei was born and raised in Targu Jiu, also the birthplace of the iconic artist Constantin Brâncuși – Ed.]. It was an interesting challenge to integrate these principles while respecting the zone architecture and the vibe of the space. 

What kind of experience do you want your customers to have when they visit your place?

I want the customer to have a diverse and complete experience with us. Therefore we constantly bring new origins from various roastries around Europe, changing the coffee on the grinder every 6-10 days. Besides the tasty espresso, one can always enjoy a mind-blowing slow-brew coffee made manually by us.

I am very customer-oriented and that’s what I always look for in the Perfect Simplu teammates. Our fundamental task is for everyone stepping in to be happy and satisfied with our service. 

Andrei brewing an AeroPress at Perfect Simplu – Splaiul Independenței.

What do you think is the most important quality for a barista to have, and why?

Always keep an eye on new research and personal development, otherwise, there is no room for growth.

What kind of community do you hope to build around your cafe, and how do you plan to foster that sense of community?

We always strive to grow the community around specialty cafés in Bucharest and share our knowledge & passion. Anyone is welcome! That’s why we host cuppings, workshops, culinary pop-ups and even bigger events such as the Romanian Comandante Championship.

You’re quite a big AeroPress fan. Not only user but also competitor! Can you let us know why you like the AeroPress and AeroPress Championships so much?

I like AeroPress because it’s a versatile and complex tool. I love to play with the variables, different recipes and techniques. As for the championships, I definitely like the vibe, and the energy around it but also the amazing community of people who all share the love for AeroPress.

What successes did you have so far and which next AeroPress Championships are you planning to attend?

I have 3 AeroPress awards already, and 1 participation at World Championship in Vancouver. My goal is to become a national champion again this year and go to WAC once more. And who knows, maybe get on the podium. Fingers crossed!

What coffee challenges are you looking forward to? Any new projects or collaborations?

I am planning to open a roastery in the near future and train our baristas to attend various coffee festivals and compete as well.

Quick Fire Questions for Andrei Clenciu:

Would you serve filter coffee with milk if asked for it?


Do you ever take sugar with your coffee?


Espresso or Filter coffee?

An AeroPress brew!

Standard or inverted AeroPress technique?


Slurp or spit?


Do you aim for Sweetness, Acidity, or Body?


Cake or Pastry with your coffee?


Favourite piece of barista equipment?

Comandante Grinder.