Baris­tas of Ip­swich

QT Magazine - - FOOD, WINE & COF­FEE -

EACH sea­son, QT Magazine will meet those peo­ple who are on the front­line of keep­ing this city mov­ing.

With­out our baris­tas, Ip­swich would come to a stand­still, let’s be hon­est.

This month we met Karen Chris­tensen from Jets Leagues Club, who has amassed a big fol­low­ing in her role be­hind the cof­fee ma­chine. Here she shares her thoughts, her se­crets and her ex­pe­ri­ences.

How long have you been a barista?

For about 18 years, seven here at Jets and be­fore that at my own restau­rant Jazz in Toowong.

What makes a good cof­fee?

Fresh beans, that’s the most important thing. Per­fect milk and a nice and strong blend of cof­fee bean. Clean equip­ment is also important and most of all mak­ing it the way the cus­tomer likes it. Some peo­ple like it strong, oth­ers like it smooth.

What’s your favourite cof­fee?

I love a good latte. The smooth­ness of it, and the tem­per­a­ture … they are all just right, with no su­gar. What’s the odd­est re­quest you’ve ever had?

That would be one day some­one asked me for a quar­ter-shot soy latte and stressed that it shouldn’t be ‘too strong’.

What is pop­u­lar now com­pared to when you started?

There’s changes all the time. We are go­ing through a cul­ture change. Peo­ple now will say how much froth they want, we don’t spoon it like ice cream any more, peo­ple will tell you ex­actly how they like their cof­fee. Things are so dif­fer­ent now, it’s a life­style choice. It’s all about the cof­fee and if you don’t like it, back it goes – I’m the same. Peo­ple are so par­tic­u­lar now and that’s a good thing. Not ev­ery­one likes a dou­ble shot, while oth­ers like a half-shot. We all have our favourite.

How many cof­fees a day do you make on av­er­age? I have my own ma­chine at home which is a com­mer­cial one, and I’m mak­ing cof­fee at home in the morn­ing then come to work and keep mak­ing cof­fee. I’ve trained lots of staff at Jets on mak­ing cof­fee.

Why is cof­fee so important to a cafe?

Cof­fee must be there all the time, for the morn­ing pick-me-up, for meet­ing up with friends, and a night-time pick me up. Plus, cake is al­ways bet­ter with cof­fee. Peo­ple of­ten come to Jets just for the cof­fee. Does Ip­swich have a cof­fee ad­dic­tion?

Yes, it’s a life­style choice. Ev­ery­one meets friends over cof­fee these days. We have so many good cafes com­ing up in Ip­swich.

What do you love about your job?

Ev­ery­thing. I love hos­pi­tal­ity, it’s my life … or so my hus­band tells me – he never sees me! I love see­ing my reg­u­lar cus­tomers.

Why should peo­ple be ex­tra nice to their barista? You want the best cof­fee ever, and I’ll al­ways do what the cus­tomer wants ev­ery time. If it’s not spot on, I’ll make it again, no wor­ries.

PHOTO: DAR­REN HALLESY

SHE KNOWS HER BEANS: Karen Chris­tensen from Jets Leagues Club who has been mak­ing cof­fee for over 18 years.

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