Imagine walking into a coffee shop, ordering that latte you’ve been craving all morning, only after waiting impatiently for your name to be called out, to be greeted not by your name on the cup, but by your portrait, so beautifully depicted on the surface of the drink!
This is how Juanmi, a Barista working for Beanhive, based in Dublin, puts a smile on coffee-goers’ faces every single day.
May I present you, for the first time ever, my portrait on a cappuccino!
I had the chance to chat with Juanmi and find out more about his craft and what inspires him.
How did you start working for Beanhive?
In 2013, I moved from Gran Canaria to Dublin. I was job hunting and I couldn’t find anything in my profession at the time, so Fan, a friend of mine at Beanhive offered to train me as a Barista. He wanted me to get the experience required to find a job in a coffee shop in the meantime. Not long after my training, they offered me a job at Beanhive and I accepted. I have been there ever since!
What is the biggest inspiration behind your latte art?
My coworker and friend, Fan, introduced me to the world of latte art. I have always had a passion for creativity, so doing designs for our customers on their drinks makes me very happy, every day. There’s nothing better than seeing someone smile out of pure joy and surprise!
Who is one person you wish would show up in line tomorrow for their morning coffee?
I would love to be greeted by World Barista Champion, Berg Wu. He is someone extremely passionate for this craft, and a person I look up to.
What would they order?
Maybe a latte, just to test out my latte art… [laughing]
What is the hardest drink to make?
Definitely coffee portraits. You don’t want to offend people if you draw them in an unflattering way. So I always have to be really careful, but at the same time, I also try to be as accurate as I can be.
Do people really get upset? Have you had any such incidents?
Not really… I mean, in general, people are very happy and excited about getting any design on their coffee. And the most common reaction is surprise, followed by a good laugh. Sometimes, their reactions are priceless! So you don’t often get people actually upset, but the pressure is always there nonetheless.
What is your biggest pet peeve about coffee-goers?
My biggest pet peeve is definitely when a customer comes in and just says: “Could I have a coffee?” without specifying what kind. Then I proceed to ask if they would like an Americano, to which they reply: “No, a Latte!” So every time that happens, I have to play a bit of a guessing game or ask many follow-up questions to understand what exactly it is that they are asking for! [Laughing]
If you could do anything else, what would it be?
I’ve always loved being creative, so I definitely think it would have to be graphic design or a related discipline!
Talk to me about a perfect cup of coffee. How should it be served?
A good cup of coffee would have to be brewed at a temperature between 90-95°C and served at around 80°C. This is due to the fact that if the coffee is served at very high temperatures, aside from the fact that customers might end up with burns, they also don’t really get to taste the richness of the flavour. However, at the right temperature – neither too hot, nor too cold – you are able to taste the best flavours of the beans!
What are three characteristics of a great coffee shop?
A coffee shop I would like to spend time in must have a cosy atmosphere, friendly service, and quality products!
I know you’re surrounded by a wide range of options every day, but what’s your go-to caffeine drink?
It would definitely have to be a cappuccino served in a mug, with hot foamy milk and a dash of sugar!
Please make that two!
Visit Beanhive at #26 Dawson St., Dublin 2, for your daily caffeine fix, and who knows, you might just get surprised with a unique, portrait art on your morning coffee!
Edited for length and clarity. Pictures courtesy of Juanmi @ Beanhive.