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Meet the Barista Series: Him, Head Barista at NOC Graham

21 NOV 2019
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Welcome back to our Meet the Baristas Series, where we introduce you to the coffee aficionados that serve up the best brews at each of our locations.

This month, we chat with Him, Head Baristas at our Graham Street store.

Q: Why are you called Him?

I don’t have an English name so everyone calls me Him (謙), which is part of my Chinese name. It means humbleness.

Q: What’s the best part of your job?

Every person has her/his own preference when it comes to coffee, and I really enjoy being here everyday to interact with our customers, to help people discover what their favourite cup of coffee is and to serve them just that.

I also love how every day is a challenge: we had a regular customer who would ask for a new latte art every time she came in. I think I managed to create over 30 different latte art designs and the customer uploaded every one of them onto her Instagram – I must say I was quite proud of myself!

Q: Why did you decide to make coffee your career?

I was 18 years old when I stumbled into a local specialty coffee shop during a walk. Back then I knew nothing about coffee, so I told the barista to brew something he thought I would enjoy. That was when I had my first ever single origin pourover, and it was love at first sip. The pourover wasn’t like any of the coffees I had had in the past: its light body and strong, fruity notes made it taste like floral tea instead, and I was utterly astonished. That pourover inspired my curiosity towards coffee, which was why I decided to become a barista.

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Q. How do you train your baristas in the NOC method?

As Head Barista of NOC Graham, it is my job to ensure that each and every customer that walks into this space experiences the best of NOC. To achieve this, I train new team members to be all-round baristas and make sure our work standards are crystal clear to everyone. Over the course of a day, we all take turns interacting with customers, pulling espressos, pouring latte art and so on – I believe we can only work well as a team when we can do everything well on our own without constant supervision.

Q. What experience do you want to create for NOC customers?

We live in a city that is home to the fifth most stressed population globally. I hope our customers can think of NOC as a space of calm, in which they can take a break from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong while nourishing themselves with good coffee and food.

I am fortunate enough to work for NOC, which is quite well-known amongst coffee-loving travellers – especially those who are from China, Japan, South Korea and South East Asia. I hope I can interact with traveling customers as a local barista and to create the coffee experience they remember from their trips to Hong Kong.

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Q. What’s your favourite brewing method?

Pourover. From the grinder and brewing vessel you use, to the grind size, water-coffee ratio, water temperature, there are many factors that can affect your cup of coffee. A barista needs to have thorough understanding of pourover theory, knowledge about the coffee and enough control over her/his coffee tools to achieve a good pourover. I think that’s what makes this kind of brewing method so interesting and I simply enjoy having that much control over the coffee I serve.

Q. What does NOC mean to you?

NOC is a positive work environment that allows the team to interact, learn and become better baristas together. It’s also a space for us to interact and share our passion with customers.

Q. How do you take your coffee?

Single origin pourovers from Africa and Central America.