Interview with William Chu

William Chu has been voted and recognized as Vancouver’s BEST BARISTA for 2012 by you our readers. Here is my Interview with William Chu who is a barista at WE. Coffee .

What do you love about being a barista?

I love being a barista as it allows me to interact with a diverse group of people from different cultures and backgrounds. It allows me to beat my craft, do what I love and have people enjoy what I create, my own roast from the green beans to their morning cup of coffee. It’s a very rewarding feeling.

How are you involved with WE. Coffee?

As barista/roaster at WE., I am also highly involved in the quality control of our coffee beans. It is my responsibility to select the highest quality green beans and maintain a consistent roasting profile to ensure that our baristas, as well as myself, create the highest quality beverages for our customers every time.

Why do you think people voted for you in the Vancouver Foodster Awards?

First off, I would like to thank Richard Wolak and Vancouver Foodster for giving us, the baristas, the opportunity to be complimented by coffee lovers. It’s such a thrill and honour to be appreciated of what we do. I guess it all started when we shared this great event to our customers, and they were so excited to show their appreciation as well. You know, sometimes the barista is who they see first every morning, and a smile with a great cup of coffee will start their hard working day the best way possible. To me, this award belongs to all the baristas out there who dedicate their heart and soul everyday. I would also like to mention our WE. team. We dedicate ourselves everyday in serving the finest quality coffee to our coffee lovers. Just this time I am more fortunate.

What’s the secret to making a good coffee?

Have the passion. Love what you do and always strive to be better.

What inspired you to become involved in the coffee industry as a Barista?

My story begins when I was just a kid having my first cup of coffee. It was the most awful drink I had ever had at that time. As I grew up, I began to drink coffee from time to time, as that was what everyone was drinking. I came across an article about coffee roasting in a magazine one day and I learned that there was actually so much going on behind that cup of coffee. In order to make that one cup, it required a lot of dedication, hard work, and passion. At 30, I wanted to open my own business. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn how to make coffee from a master roaster in Taiwan. I got to see the dedication and hard work that led to producing that cup of coffee just like in the magazine. That is when I began my life as a barista…

What are you drinking now?

Double ristretto espresso and double macchiato.

What is your favorite dessert to have with an espresso?

WE. waffles.

What was your training like and how long have you been in this industry?

I trained with the master roaster in Taiwan. I began learning to make espresso drinks and pourovers. My teacher would sample every drink I made, and when it was not up to par, I would have to drink it, and it definitely was not a pleasant feeling overdosing in caffeine. However, it taught me to understand the importance of serving qualified drinks, and the importance to ensure that every cup was consistent because no matter how many cups you make, you only have one chance to make it or break it for each customer. Once I was able to make drinks with consistent quality, I moved on to roasting. From then, I roasted 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. One time I accidentally mixed green beans with roasted beans, and in order to discipline me, my teacher had me separate them one by one. It took me 4 hours.

I’ve been in the industry for about 3.5 years.

What interests do you have outside of the coffee business?

Golf, going to the movies, hanging out with friends, trying new restaurants, travelling, and reading.

Visit William at the bar at WE. Coffee, 1696 Robson Street in Vancouver,

By: Richard Wolak