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Barista Stories: Moise Cristian Gabriel of Meron Cișmigiu, Bucharest

When you enter Meron Cișmigiu you can see Cristian moving between the brewing stations and coffee tables like Flash from the famous comic series. But once he approaches or is approached by a guest, he immediately slows down and his eyes light up. You can see that his focus immediately shifts from the task at hand to a fully compassionate approach to help the visitor as much as possible.

Moise Cristian Gabriel is a 26-year-old coffee professional from vibrant Bucharest. The city that starts to be called the European capital of coffee with more than 15o+ specialty cafés and quality coffee present in almost every restaurant that works for its name and reputation. Cristian is the Head Barista of one of those specialty cafés contributing actively to the image of the city’s coffee scene.

Cristian is always there for his teammates to help out, and support them to grow their skills and knowledge. He actively cheers for them and other community members even when he’s competing himself in various championships and smaller coffee competitions.

It’s a big honour for us that we can present you the story of a humble yet so inspiring member of the Bucureşti coffee scene!

Barista Stories are sponsored by PUQpress.

Cristian, what is your first memory of coffee? 

I think my first memory with coffee is from my childhood when I would take a sip of my father’s coffee and often my mother would ask me to make her a Nescafe. Those were the joyful times when I spent my weekend mornings with my parents. 

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

It happened at my first job when I was working at McDonald’s and the location had just opened the McCafé. I was so intrigued by coffee that in my free time, I would look at tutorials about latte art and different beverages based on espresso. The Store Manager noticed that I was more into coffee than preparing hamburgers and french fries but it took a few months until a barista job was open.

Tell us a bit about the place you work at. What is your role there?

I’m working at one of the biggest chains of specialty coffee with its own roastery in Eastern Europe. It’s family-owned and consists of 22 coffee shops with the head office in Cluj-Napoca. Nationally, Meron is known for its emphasis on quality, hospitality and participation in different national and international competitions.

My role in the coffee shop is to make sure that everything is working according to plan, and that the work procedures and the recipes are followed. Also, the preparations of the products are according to the quality standards. Another part of my role is to guide my colleagues in their growth and help them to exceed their limits. And yes, last but not least, I make sure that every client gets an experience which they’ll always remember. 

What is your favourite part of the day in your cafe, and why?

Definitely morning! It is the moment that I prepare the opening of the coffee shop alongside my colleagues, the moment we drink our coffee and I appoint each other’s posts and tasks for the day.

How do you stay motivated and inspired to keep improving your coffee-making skills?

My team has an important role in my motivation. As long as I wake up with enthusiasm and come back home with satisfaction, I’ll go beyond the limits improving my abilities. I am grateful to be around passionate people who inspire me every day.

Bucharest itself is such a world of coffee with 150+ specialty cafes. What do you think are the best things about the coffee scene in the city and what would you wish to change?

The fact that we have a combination of passionate and dedicated baristas, entrepreneurs who get involved in understanding the product and guests who are eager and curious. It doesn’t cross my mind to change something, but I would add to this coffee scene’s CV a chance to host World Of Coffee Bucharest! 💙

What are the current trends in cafes in your region? Are there any trends you promote yourself and would like to see more often elsewhere?

The demand for filter coffee! It’s a growing trend amongst guests. They decide to get filter coffee instead of espresso or milk beverages more and more often. It’s a growth based on the specialty coffee community’s efforts to encourage drinking filter brews when their clients visit their café or during coffee events. Also, I encourage our guests, who want to make their coffee at home, to choose this alternative. When you think about it, it’s easier an expensive espresso machine is not necessary. 

I also meet many guests who want to try experimentally processed coffees. I’m referring to fruit-infused coffees or inoculated with yeast. Amongst the coffee shops, I noticed a slight enrichment in the menu with coffee and alcohol-based drinks.

Can you tell me about a time when you had to train a new barista? How did you approach the training process and what did you focus on?

I don’t exactly remember a certain time, but when I have a new colleague in the team, first of all, I introduce them to the procedures, the recipe and the intern rules. 

For the coffee-making part, I watch carefully what area they are more keen on. Here I’m referring to latte art, espresso, brew, customer service etc. and I focus on filling the gaps in knowledge or know-how.

You have such a fantastic team at Meron Bucharest. How do you think it happened that you’re so well team-built and fit so well together? 

Behind the team in Bucharest, you’ve already met Cătălin, the location’s Store Manager, who is dedicating his time to the team’s management. Also, I learn from him how to manage and build our team. An important factor in teamwork’s success is that we all are different and have diverse skills, succeeding in completing each other. So, we finish our daily tasks, having the same amount of focus, and respect for coffee, work and customers. 

What are your hobbies and passions besides coffee?

I like taking photos and exploring the city’s architecture, its history and what influenced Bucharest to change over the years. 

Above you can see a beautiful shot from Cristian himself showcasing his three passions: photography, architecture and coffee. Meron Cișmigiu is based in the impressive Casa Dotatiunii Oastei that arose in Bucharest already 140 years ago. It quickly became one of the landmarks of the Bucureşti cityscape.

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

I want to push my limits and participate in even more competitions.

Quick Fire Questions for Moise Cristian Gabriel:

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


Do you ever take sugar with your coffee?

No, I would never.

Espresso or Filter coffee?


Do you aim for Sweetness, Acidity, or Body?

Together they are wonderful.

Milky or Black?


Slurp or spit?


Cake or Pastry with your coffee?


Favourite piece of barista equipment?