Our Barista Stories series has been long in the making. Since our first visits to cafes around Europe, we have met many amazing baristas who have had a number of interesting stories to share. We love the speciality coffee community exactly for the people building it and are thrilled to introduce some of those individuals to you.
Baristas truly are the ones who contribute to the atmosphere in the cafe massively and are the key reason why we’d revisit.
Read on to meet Matt Winton, brewing your daily cup of coffee at Drop Coffee in Stockholm.
Matt Winton, a 27-year-old Australian, is living in Stockholm where he works for the well-known Drop Coffee Roasters as the Head Barista at the cafe, also taking care of the Wholesale accounts. For someone who has only worked in the industry for over a year and a half, we think Matt has done well for himself in his home away from home.
A few questions for Matt
What led you to coffee? Could you describe the moment or situation that made you decide to become a barista?
I had my first specialty coffee experience in Brisbane with a Natural Ethiopian called “Purple Haze” and it blew my mind! I kept working my full time job as an Aircraft Engineer until I finished a short term contract in Zurich in 2016 and decided to stay around working in coffee. I just totally fell in love with it and haven’t looked back since. Something about the daily interaction with people, and the never ending pursuit to make things better.
What is the funniest thing that you have experienced behind the bar? Can you recall any embarrassing moment?
The only thing I can recall is dropping a full platter of cakes and having to clean up the mess in my first cafe job. I personally feel very embarrassed if I screw up orders, but that happens way more often than I care to admit… haha.
What would you do if you were not working in coffee?
Probably dog training…. I used to have my own dog training business before moving to Europe.
What is an unusual habit or hobby that you love?
I play “touch footy”. It’s like rugby but non-contact, 6-a-side, and we play mixed males and females. I also f*cking love puns.
What are some bad recommendations you hear often in your profession? What is your piece of advice for anybody starting a career as a barista?
It frustrates me when people just brew by numbers without challenging recipes and trying to push things further and give bare minimum service. Always go the extra mile with both service and coffee – research more, try new things, smile more, always perfect this art.
Looking back, what one thing would you wish to know when you were starting to work as a barista?
Absolutely nothing. It’s been such an amazing ride, and the places I’ve gone with coffee are incredible. It sounds cliched but I wouldn’t change a thing if I could.
What qualities set a good and a great barista apart?
If you have a bad day at the cafe, what helps you to handle it and provide good customer service?
For me, I meditate every day, that helps relieve stress and keep me happy. For immediate fix, having a bite to eat or putting some good music on helps a lot.
What is the one thing that you would miss the most if you could not work as a barista/in coffee anymore?
The people. Interacting with guests, and building relationships is so key.
Imagine the perfect day in your city. Perhaps you have an old friend visiting. What would be top 3 to 5 activities or places you would show them?
When it’s a sunny summer day in Stockholm, you can’t beat walking everywhere and relaxing in the parks with a cheeky beverage or two. Cafe hopping is my personal favourite past time, and relaxing, talking shit, and watching the long sunset over the water is too good to pass up.
What do you consider some of the best experiences you have had in coffee so far?
The amazing people in the industry who will nerd out and talk about coffee from 8am till midnight and still want to keep going. The guests who's day you can make a little brighter with a smile! The people who come back and say that I’ve given them the best coffee they’ve ever had – makes me feel real damn good. I suppose winning the Swedish Barista Championship this year was pretty good.
Quick Fire Questions
Would you serve filter coffee with milk, if asked for it?
Yep absolutely. I still politely ask if they’d try it first without 🙂
Do you ever take sugar with your coffee?
Rarely, but some coffee just needs sugar to go down…