At just 24 years old, Marta Paula Puścian is a driven full-time professional barista with a staunch commitment to the speciality scene. Life in Poznań working as the barista for Brisman Kawowy Bar has only further cemented her love of coffee – a career path which started out with making instant brews for her mom, then meeting her to-be fiance through her first-ever proper speciality cup.
Marta, what is your first memory with coffee?
Ever since I can remember, coffee has always been around me. I can recall how many times my Mom asked me to prepare her a cup of coffee throughout my childhood; back then I was an eight-year-old girl who simply loved to do that because Mom always praised the taste of that cup of coffee.
It’s funny to think about it now, from the perspective of a person who spends most of their time making coffee – back then I would’ve only been making instant coffee with milk, and I was quite proud of myself.
But, my first time with a speciality coffee was quite different from my first coffee experience, and that moment changed everything. It was coffee from Rwanda, brewed in Chemex by a great barista. In fact, this guy is my fiance now.
Could you describe the moment or situation that made you decide to become a barista?
When I started my first job in the coffee industry (that was in Starbucks) I didn’t yet know that I would be a barista for the long-term, this was just a regular job to make some money. At that time, I already knew about manual brewing methods and how good coffee can taste, therefore my first job was not my first coffee experience.
Time flew by, I changed my job several times, and I found myself working in Brisman Kawowy Bar. There, my perception of the barista profession changed 180 degrees. The huge support from my boss gave me a lot of faith in my choice to develop myself in this way, and that’s how it happened – I have become a professional barista.
What is the funniest thing that you have experienced behind the bar?
Brisman Kawowy Bar is a place where an “ordinary day” is not exactly like it would be anywhere else. Sometimes little mishaps happen, like syrup or 2 litres of freshly brewed coffee spills on the floor, but then that is not weird.
But, I remember one day my friend dropped nuts and chocolate syrup on the floor, and on that occasion, the biggest problem was her allergy to nuts. She had to go outside because the choking scent was too much for her, then we had to clean all of it up without the help of the culprit herself, that was a really big mess.
If a career in coffee was not an option, what job would you be doing?
I don’t know, maybe I would choose a career in civil engineering, which is what I used to study. Or I might start to realize myself in art. Who knows, maybe I would have become a tattoo artist?
Do you have an unusual habit or hobby that you love?
I like taking pictures, but I don’t have any good equipment for this. My favourite way to spend my free time is painting and drawing, mainly watercolor and pencil. If we are talking about sports, I like running, but not competitively, just for myself.
Are there any bad recommendations you hear often in your profession?
Not really. Sometimes people tell me “that line of work isn’t for your whole life”, “that’s just temporary work, not a real career path” but very often that ‘advice’ is given by people who are not working in the coffee industry, so what can I say to them?
They don’t know how special this profession is, and how much I love to do it. It’s so gratifying to be a regular part of the day for many people – I always try to do something special for each person who comes to my place, whether that’s talking about coffee with them or sometimes teaching someone something new (I like to share coffee knowledge with people a lot!).
So my advice is simple. When you want to start a career as a barista, just do it unreservedly. Search for information, drink a lot of coffee and, most importantly, meet coffee people! There are a lot of great people to meet and from them, you can learn all kinds of important and curious things.
What qualities set a good and a great barista apart?
Of course, possessing the skills and knowledge surrounding coffee is really important to be good in this profession, and every good barista should be passionate about coffee. A great barista, however, is someone who cares about the guest, fellow baristas, and the place where he/she works too. People are always more important than just a cup of coffee.
What is the one thing that you would miss the most if you could not work as a barista anymore?
God, that’s surely a hard question! Maybe seeing the people’s faces when they get their coffee and see the latte art made by me. Making latte art just for yourself sounds a little sad and boring.
Rapid Fire Questions For Marta
Would you serve filter coffee with milk, if asked for it?