They are the masters of drinks, the ones who turn standard into something special: What used to be the bartender in clubs is now the barista in cafés. Tom Meyer has taken on the job behind the coffee machine and is now training others in Vienna to master the art of the bean (almost) to perfection.
French Press, Bialetti Moka Express, De'Longhi Nespresso – it has become a genuine culture: Drinking coffee, and everything that goes along. The names of famous machines resound from upbeat TV commercials and accompany happy smiling faces on XXL advertising posters – including acting icon George Clooney. Barista Tom Meyer is also addicted to the taste of the roasted bean and has turned his passion into his profession. "I could talk about coffee for ten hours", says the 30-year-old enthusiastically during the Skype interview.
In January 2019, Tom joined a taster course at the Vienna Coffee College for the first time out of private interest, and since then his love for the hot beverage has been growing more and more every day. "At the beginning of my barista career, I thought for a short phase that I knew everything about coffee and only drank 'good' coffee, like an elitist snob. But then I realised how diverse the world I immersed in is, and that made me realise that I actually know very little about it", Tom says with a grin.
Of filter coffee and hallway vending machines
Like almost everyone in Luxembourg, he discovered the benefits of coffee during his finals in secondary school, but at the time he was still ignorant of what quality drinking was all about. "At home, we mostly drank filter coffee, which you buy prepacked in a ground form at the supermarket", says Tom. "Standard stuff." At university, the student then discovered the products of hallway vending machines, which no one really likes, but as a pick-me-up, they fulfil the desired effect. "After that, at my first office job in finance, there were these big capsule machines that are supposed to supply a whole floor of 100 to 200 employees."
Tom first came into contact with high-quality coffee in Vienna, where espresso was the order of the day and where he wanted to continue his studies. While working as a receptionist in a barbershop, the young Luxembourger was not only allowed to serve the customers from the small in-house espresso machine, but also to taste it himself. "It was much better than anything I had tasted before. The taste was much more intense and extremely exciting", the 30-year-old recalls. He decided to pursue his new hobby at the Wiener Rösthaus in May 2019 and to learn as much as he could about coffee and its preparation.
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