In celebration of UK Coffee Week, we caught up with our Barista Academy trainers Jana Slamova and James Campbell to talk all things coffee.
What do you enjoy most about being a BaxterStorey barista trainer?
James: Watching our baristas develop their skills and gain the confidence needed to make a great cup of coffee is the most rewarding part of my job. I love going to our different locations and seeing baristas that I have previously trained now working as a head barista or team leader. It’s great to see their progression.
Jana: It’s hard to pin point a single highlight as I truly believe that I have one of the best and most rewarding jobs. Being a part of a coffee community where I learn something new every day, watch my students have a sudden ‘eureka’ moment during training, being an inspiration to other baristas who chose coffee as a career.. these are all highlights!
What’s your coffee order?
James: Mine’s a naturally processed African filter coffee. If we’re talking milk beverages, then you can’t beat a flat white!
Jana: I’ve become a filter coffee lover. Interestingly, I enjoy coffees which make me stop and think “this doesn’t taste like coffee at all!” When I tried George Chatzianastasiou’s (barista trainer) competition coffee which was fermented in sugar cane juice during its natural process, it tasted so sweet and delicious!
What do you wish someone told you when you first started out in coffee?
James: That there are always opportunities for growth and development. I started as a barista four years ago, and I’m now a Barista Academy trainer and achieved third place in the BaxterStorey Barista Championships!
Jana: Coffee is addictive! On a serious note, I didn’t realise how complex the coffee world was – from the farm, the growing process, sustainability, roasting, training, serving… there’s so much to discover!
If you could drink coffee with anyone who would it be and why?
James: I’d love to have a coffee with Bach. He wrote a cantata (small opera) about coffee because he loved it so much.
Jana: My Grandmother. She was the one who inspired me to first love coffee. When I lived in the Czech Republic, I thought coffee was bitter and boring. How wrong was I?! I wish I could make her a cup of coffee now to show her how much has changed.
What’s been your coffee career highlight to date?
James: Competing in the 2019 UK Barista Championship. It was such a thrill and I learnt so much. Also, coming third place in the 2019 BaxterStorey Barista Championships. I was so proud of my oat milk and raspberry virgin espresso martini. Bring on next year!
Jana: Achieving third place in the 2015 UK Barista Championship, coaching Remy Poirot for the 2017 World Barista Championships and teaching at the Barista Camp last year. They’re my three highlights.
Where do you see your next steps in your coffee journey?
James: Learning more, teaching more and drinking more. Coffee that is!
Jana: I am really excited about my next steps, as I will be travelling to Peru in July, which will be my first time visiting Coffee Origin. I can’t wait to have the chance to finally connect all the dots I have learnt over the years and to discover the complete coffee odyssey.