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Barista reveals secret recipe for success

By Gan Tian | China Daily | Updated: 2012-03-07 10:57

Barista reveals secret recipe for success


Barista Gu Yuanren has developed a "secret coffee recipe" that he says consistently wins applause.

He puts several small pieces of orange rind in milk and boils it for about 10 minutes. Then, he melts some white sugar and fries it with almonds. The last step is to add the milky froth to espresso, which he then tops with the fried almonds.

Gu refuses to reveal the ingredients' ratio, because it's one of his "secret recipes".

The 28-year-old says he developed an interest in coffee seven years ago. When he graduated from college in 2005, he got a gig working in the Westin Hotel Shanghai's bar. One of his first tasks was learning how to make a cuppa.

"I remember nearly all the customers who came into the bar would have coffee," he recalls.

"Foreigners would always have espressos, and Asian guests preferred something with milk."

Gu's trainer told him on the first day that only after making 1,000 cups of coffee would he begin his career as a barista.

But Gu was a quick learner. After becoming familiar with the semiautomatic coffee machine, he successfully made his first cup of americano. It only took him three weeks, he says, proudly.

In 2007, the company sent him to Illy China's professional coffee-making courses. He was astonished to discover there are so many kinds of beans.

"I remember I used to watch European movies in which people would use a special kettle to boil coffee," he recalls.

"I finally saw that kettle in reality."

Gu learned everything about coffee during the three-month course but believes becoming a good barista requires inspiration and passion.

He describes himself as a "romantic coffee designer". Every March and April, he creates a cappuccino for his family and friends to herald spring's arrival.

"I put some petals in the milk - maybe jasmine, rose or something else," Gu says.

"Sometimes, I mix and boil them together to create the flavor of spring."

The young barista is determined to work in the coffee industry. His experience and passion earned him a job as a Nespresso sales manager.

His colleagues often invite him to demonstrate a technique or two, he says, and he's always more than happy to oblige.