March 10, 2022
Behind the Bar — Sparky Ye
With 10 years working as a barista, 5 years experience training other baristas and she judged our national Hospitality Championship (3 times), Sparky shone from the pack of keen beans going for the new role at Commercial Bay almost a year ago. She also studied at Aotea College in Wellington — which we chose to take as a sign.
Sparky hails from Beijing, China (if you have plans to head there sometime soon see her recommendation for coffee in Beijing below), recently married the woman of her dreams (she proposed by pulling up in her car with 'Will you marry me?' on the number plate surrounds!) and as we mentioned she trains baristas on the side (get in touch via wechat:ilovecoffee666). We grabbed a couple of minutes of her time to get to know her journey in the world of coffee a little more. Read on below.
What is your first memory of coffee?
When I was studying hospitality 16 years ago, drinking coffee was my daily routine which could always make me awaken in the early morning or stay up late with my assignment.
How did you first get into the coffee industry, and what do you love the most about it?
I was lucky that I had a chance to do my own small cafe, CAFE FRANCAIS, in Auckland 10 years ago with my friend.
I love the diversity of coffee, which means coffee is not only a drink, but can be made into products like soap or cup with coffee grounds. For the coffee drinks, it can be presented as espresso, cold brew or even a signature coffee and mocktail.
You are originally from Beijing, do you have any tips for finding great coffee in Beijing or another favourite spot in China? I was born in Beijing, but moved to Shenzhen when I was 9 years old. I recommend S.O.E (Square Of Eight) coffee in Beijing. It's like a buffet, you only need to buy the cup, you can try eight different filter coffees, with or without milk, following their instructions. It's so interesting!
And what made you want to work at our Commercial Bay coffee bar?
Kokāko is one of the famous new arisen local coffee roasteries in recent years. I can feel the passion of our team everyday and how they dedicate themselves into our coffee business in different roles.
And when you’re not pulling shots, what will we find you doing?
I’m always on the way to try new cafe spots and restaurants. Eating is my life business! I’m also doing my own coffee training business in my spare time.
It must be Geisha hand drip coffee.
And when you're not drinking coffee, what do you drink?
Plum flavour soda water which is a traditional soft drink in China. Or just water!
Do you have a memorable coffee moment?
Yirgacheffe made in Syphon at Lamason Brew Bar in Wellington, when travelling to Welly in 2018.
What's currently your favourite place to eat in Auckland? BLVD (House of Boulevard) in Silverdale.
If you could use only one piece of brewing equipment for the rest of your life, what would that be?
Kalita Wave Dripper, since it’s stable and easy to control. If you’re a hand drip lover, don’t miss it!
You can find Sparky pouring shots at our coffee bar in Commercial Bay and working on the floor at our roastery with the team a few days a week too!
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