You probably make coffee every day. But here is a person who classifies himself as a baristo. And Andrew Papadakis is an exceptional baristo whose long experience includes concocting some of the most fascinating coffee products for the different concept cafés he has worked with.
For him, he does it in the pursuit of the best and good quality coffee and exceptional customer service.
Now that can be achieved by anybody who is serious about their profession but the difference with Andrew is that art and knowledge of coffee-making have taken him across the globe. And now, he has landed right here in Muscat at Tr.Eat located at the InterContinental Muscat.
“Coffee was more of a travel bug for me. Everywhere in the world needs coffee. So from one hospitality job to another, it has taken me through many parts of the world. There is always a new product and new taste,” said Andrew.
“It started as a hobby and it still is,” says the barista.
“It is now a hobby/profession. I think it is important for any person to have the passion so that they can enjoy doing it, have fun and pursue a career related to it for the long term,” he said.
“Coffee will never stop growing and the many flavours will never cease to change so there will always be something new for me to try out or a new style of coffee to make. I think that is what intrigues me about the coffee industry,” reflected Andrew who is from Australia.
Coffee has taken him through the North Americas, Japan, New Zealand, Europe, and South East Asia.
“It is exciting because it is a different way of making the coffee and different people to serve it.”
He has made a unique blend for Tr.Eat.
“For personal tasting, I have made many blends but the one for the café, I created is with — Ethiopian, Brazilian and Indonesian.”
Asked if the coffee bean differ in flavor from country to country, he responded, “Definitely one hundred percent. Obviously, the regions where coffee comes from are very specific regions of the world. You need to have a certain climate, temperature, and humidity. Different parts of the world have different soil and water so the flavours of the coffee vary too. That is the most interesting part of coffee – You can taste the world in different cups.”
But it is not just coffee he also brings in spices of the culture.
“There are different flavours that you can introduce to coffee and fruits as well.”
He has spice infused coffee to accompany food and deserts. That is where it gets all exciting! Immediately what crosses your mind? Oman and Coffee! The lands love coffee.
“I have tasted authentic Omani coffee and I really like some of the flavours that are used in the coffee. I have enjoyed them. It has inspired me to make an Omani Blend or Oman influenced flavour by playing with rose water, saffron and things like that to emphasise on the traditional flavours,” he shared.
Andrew has already tried roasting date seeds in Espresso shots, which also very sweet.
“There is so much sugar within the seeds so when you put through the hot water, you get this very strong date-ish, sweet cup of water. It has oils too so it is an interesting cup of coffee although there is no caffeine. But we might in the future use a combination of date seeds and coffee,” he said.
So it is all adding up to Oman’s element to his coffee history but he is also excited about another idea and that is, “It has been a good journey to train the staff from basic coffee to a progressive stage because it constantly evolving. I see a lot of potential for baristos and a lot of people who are passionate about being baristos, which I think I would like to encourage by providing training. We will be on the lookout soon!”