Jana Elicker is a 29 years old coffee professional and AST working as a Head Trainer in Supremo Training Center. She was born in Dresden, lived for a while in Canada and currently lives in Unterhaching, Germany.
Jana is one of the most modest, quality oriented and cheeky coffee people we had a chance to meet. She moved the coffee community with her very personal story told during the German Barista Championship in 2020, which landed her a well deserves 2nd place and the V-ce Champion title. She later on represented Germany during the World Barista Championship in Milan.
Jana, what is your first memory with coffee?
The first memory with coffee is me at I think 2 or 3 years old drinking the last few cold sips of my mum's breakfast coffee that was sitting on the counter. She always had it with milk and sugar so it was obviously such a treat for me. From that moment on I was always on the hunt for those little sips.
Could you describe the moment or situation that made you decide to become a barista?
I think most of us ‘coffee people' have found our way into the industry pretty randomly and by chance, but it’s interesting to think about the moment where one made the conscious decision to stay in the field and try to turn it into a career. For me this point happened during the time when I was working in Berlin and gave my first barista training. That was the moment when I realised that I could turn this into a career.
What is the funniest thing that you have experienced behind the bar? Can you recall any embarrassing moments?
Ha! The funniest moment behind the bar happened pretty early on in my career, when a customer walked into the café I worked at at the time, wearing nothing but his birthday suit, ordering a coffee with a friendly smile on his face as if he wasn’t standing in a packed café completely naked. He drank his coffee, thanked us for the great coffee and walked out again.
One embarrassing moment that wakes me up at night from time to time is when I just started working at my current job at Supremo Coffee. I was prepping my first public cupping session and I was all nervous and anxious to not embarrass myself or my new employer. Everything went fine until I decided to start cupping right after the break…. Obviously way too hot. I choked and everyone stared at me in confusion about what I was doing.
If a career in coffee was not an option, what job would you be doing?
I would definitely work in the film industry one way or another.
Do you have an unusual habit or hobby that you love?
Not really unusual I think, but my execution of it is a bit over the top according to many of my friends. I get extremely excited when I see any kind of animal and get easily distracted by it. Oh and I randomly start singing without noticing.
Are there any bad recommendations you hear often in your profession?
Bad recommendations not so much, I would just encourage any new barista to try not to let themselves get overwhelmed with all the information out there. Starting to get into different pressure profiling and very specific brewing techniques before you have fully understood the basics is just very overwhelming and ineffective. Enjoy the ride and don’t rush through the beginning, it’s all part of the fun!
What’s the most common question you get asked behind the bar or during training? How do you answer it?
“Can you really taste all those different things that you have on your coffee bags?” Depends on the day haha, but say I’m in a really positive mood, then yes.
What’s the most exciting thing for you in barista championships?
I think the most exciting thing for me is the opportunity to share something that is important to you, or more cheesily put to share a part of yourself with a listening audience and judges.
What is the one thing that you would miss the most if you could not work in coffee anymore?
I first thought that I would miss the community most but then I realized that I could still be part of this big loving bunch of people even if I didn’t work in coffee anymore. What a sweet realization. I think I would miss it most to experience that moment that changes a person's view of coffee forever, when you serve and prepare that one coffee they’ll never forget.
What has been the best experience you have had in the speciality coffee industry so far?
There are so many great and unforgettable experiences but if I have to single one out, I would have to pick the first Barista Championship that I took part in. To see how important it was for so many people to feel seen in their struggle with their mental health and that I could share love and compassion and maybe some insight for others was so special to me and I’m incredibly thankful for it.
Quick Fire Questions for Jana Elicker
Would you serve filter coffee with milk if asked for it?
Yes! I’d suggest that they firstly try it black (with a cute wink). But Who am I to tell people how to enjoy their coffee. I just want to provide the best version of it to my ability and make sure the coffee is ethically sourced and everyone in the production chain was paid properly.
Do you ever take sugar with your coffee?
I don’t. I usually have a cheeky hot chocolate if I fancy something really sweet.