Story of a...Barista

Coffee, like beer, has gone craft, and no one knows that better than Aaron Albright, 26, of Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen.

Roberto Gonzalez

“People still want to come in, get their buzz and run out,” says Albright, who started working at Barnie’s Coffee-Kitchen in Winter Park two years ago. “But there’s a culture to coffee. People are getting into this craft movement and they care about where things are sourced.”

And they care about how their coffee is being made, as confirmed by some of Albright’s loyalists, who look on while he dotingly executes a four-minute pour-over—a custom drip coffee in which the barista slowly, in a circular motion, pours hot water over freshly ground beans.

While he works his magic, Albright is happy to provide the lowdown on contemporary buzzwords like single origin (non-blended beans), sustainable (farmed using renewable and organic practices), fair trade (proper wages for workers), and rainforest-friendly (no disruption to the local ecosystem). “I am noticing that 50 percent of my job is educating. I’m constantly telling people what we do and why we do it that way.” 

He’s happy to give customers what they want, including brews with a double or single shot, hot or iced preparation, and the milk of choice (non-dairy or dairy). His craziest request: A 180-degree, half caf, no foam, skim milk latte. 

Albright has memorized more than 35 drink recipes, including his personal concoctions invented on the job. “But about 35 percent of our business is just plain ol’ drip, no milk, no sugar.” 

Could coffee see a sommelier-type accreditation? Albright thinks so. “People tell me all the time they are making and drinking their coffee like most do wine. Like grapes, there are so many different coffee beans. There are 1,000 different coffee farms in Ethiopia alone, and that’s not even the most popular [growing] region.” 

Albright makes around 350 cups of coffee per eight-hour shift, including the lattes he graces with his own artful panache. “I do about seven different designs: a tulip, rosetta, heart, hanging heart, phoenix, swan, and a Buddha head. I had to practice for two months to learn my first design.” 

But beneath the foam, it’s still just comfort in a cup. “Coffee is comfort food. It’s how many relationships start.” Ironically, that holds true for Albright. He met his girlfriend—now his fiancée and coworker—at Barnie’s, and the two are expecting their first child in April. 

Albright takes his coffee—usually espresso—black, but it wasn’t always that way. “I had my first cup of coffee in church. I was 14. I used a lot of cream, a lot of sugar, but I slowly built a taste for the type of coffee and the region I loved. I might have a little mocha from time to time, but I like to keep my coffee as is, true flavor from the bean.”

Edit Module
Want to read the whole issue? Download and read this issue and others on Magzter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Guides & Resources

Orlando's Best Lawyers 2018

Our annual list includes hundreds of Orlando-area attorneys in dozens of areas of practice.

Orlando's Top Dentists of 2018

Our annual list featuring 224 of the area's finest dental professionals.

Guide to Private Schools 2018

Our searchable annual database will help you chart an educational course for your family.

2017 Premier Doctors

Our annual list of over 500 doctors.

Top Doctors 2017

The Annual List of the Top Doctors in Orlando.

Best Doctors 2017

The Annual List of the Best Doctors in Orlando.

Orlando's Top Chiropractors of 2017

Check out our 2017 list of some of the best chiropractors in the Orlando area.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

Weekend Happenings Apr 20-22

Our top picks for what's happening in and around Orlando this weekend.

Generocity Orlando 2018

Orlando magazine hosts its second annual Generocity Orlando event on April 18, 2018 — a Party with a Purpose, celebrating dozens of Central Florida’s nonprofit organizations.

Weekend Happenings Apr 13-15

Our top picks for what's happening in and around Orlando this weekend.

Weekend Happenings Apr 6-8

Our top picks for what's happening in and around Orlando this weekend.

Health Hub: Oral Oncology

Head and neck cancer–know your risk.
Edit Module