THE ART OF a good cup

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - Wedding Exclusive -

For Charles D’Souza, it’s not good enough for his cof­fee to just taste good – each in­di­vid­ual cup needs to be a work of art. While the dad of five has won awards for his brews, in­clud­ing the Supreme Re­gional Barista of the Year in 2017, there’s an­other rea­son Charles has de­vel­oped a ded­i­cated fan base at Wild Bean Cafe Pa­pakura

It all started in 2012, when Charles first be­gan work­ing at Wild Bean Cafe Mt Welling­ton on the grave­yard shift. Alone for hours, he de­cided to use his time wisely and learn how to make the per­fect cup. “I started search­ing the in­ter­net and YouTube, and that’s how I taught my­self how to make the art on the cof­fee – I be­came the latte artist!” he says.

Six years later, Charles can cre­ate more than 100 dif­fer­ent pictures on the top of his cus­tomers’ cof­fees, with many trav­el­ling far and wide just to take a photo to post on so­cial me­dia. “What I make on top of the cof­fee de­pends on the cus­tomer, but dogs and cats are very pop­u­lar,” Charles tells. “My favourite to make is a gi­raffe – the long neck looks great in the cof­fee.”

LOOKS GOOD, TASTES GOOD

Of course, Charles knows his cof­fee can’t just look good – it also has to taste amaz­ing. With that in mind, he puts just as much work into brew­ing the per­fect drop as he does the fi­nal flour­ishes. “Cof­fee is not just cof­fee, I re­ally be­lieve that,” he says. “When you wake up in the morn­ing, the first thing on your mind is ‘I want a good cup of cof­fee’. That cof­fee will make your day, and when I first started mak­ing it, I quickly re­alised how im­por­tant that is. It can bring joy, and I love be­ing a part of that.”

KIA ORA, CHARLES

Cof­fee is a rel­a­tively re­cent pas­sion for Charles – when he ar­rived in New Zealand from In­dia in 2008, he didn’t even know what a flat white was! “I had no idea,” he laughs. “I didn’t even drink it un­til I came to New Zealand, and now I love it.”

It’s a love he’s pass­ing on to his kids – Wil­liam (16), Yo­hann (12), twins Paul and Serah (8) and Is­raelle (4) – though every­one but Wil­liam are still en­joy­ing hot choco­late and chai lat­tes.

How­ever, while Charles crafts award-win­ning cof­fee for hun­dreds of people a day, he doesn’t make his own – that task still falls to his lovely wife, Re­becca. “I don’t know what she does to it, but she’s the best barista for me in the whole world.”

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