Don Mariano - Senior Barista of Kava, Qatar

Hello Everyone! My name is Don and I am a Barista.

At first I don't know why I entered the world of coffee. My first job was a barista for Vanilla Cupcake Bakery, I thought my experience there is enough to become a good barista. Things changed when I started to meet other baristas from different coffee shops. They were using coffee terms that I didn't understand and techniques I never heard of before. My eagerness to learn more about coffee started. I searched online and even read books but it never satisfied my curiousity. No one ever taught me the things I needed to learn to become a good barista. One day I tried my luck to find new work place. I need to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. I applied as a Junior Barista in a well known coffee shop which is Toby's Estate Coffee Roasters. Well it is really a new world, new environment, new people and new learnings. That is the moment when I met Sir Raoul De Peralta, that time he is the over all general manager of the bar. On my interview I feel so nervous because I really didn't what was going to happen. It is my first time to hear the words "calibration", "specialty coffee" and many more terms. I wanted so much to work in that coffee shop. Fortunately I was hired and my journey to Specialty Coffee begun. Sir Raoul taught me everything I need to know about coffee, calibration, proper pulling and steaming milk, and also teaches me how to taste and analyze the real flavor of coffee, and gave me the right way to develop my sense of taste.

I really learned from his training.  He patiently trained me and gave me his best to improve my skills as a barista. After a year of being a junior barista I thought I already knew all the things about coffee but I was wrong. When I got the chance to become a senior barista, there was more and more training in store for me. From basic espresso extraction to advanced espresso training, manual brewing techniques and others. He does not stop us from learning. And never gives up on us until we get it right. Even though we fail sometimes and he gets mad to us, he still there to support and teach us. Being mad does not mean he hates us. He just wants you to push yourself more to improve. I am really lucky to experience the trainings he done for me. He doesn't just train you to become a good barista but also trains you with the right and proper attitude of a specialty coffee barista.

I am now a Senior Barista here in Qatar, under KAVA KOFFEE, where I always use the calibration, extraction and the technical skills I acquired during his trainings. If I had another chance to work and train with I would love to grab that opportunity and take all the knowledge he will share.