Summah has been a barista for 20 years and has been the Barista Trainer at Karvan coffee for 6 of those years. Without a doubt, she knows how to make the perfect cup of joe. The (not-so-secret) secret to making the best coffee is the milk you choose to serve with the espresso. Today, Summah shares with Alternative Dairy Co. her industry experience and working with alternative milk producers.
What’s your name, what do your friends call you?
Summah but my friends call me Sumz.
What’s the best thing about being a barista?
I love the people you meet both as customers and the people you work with. I’ve made lifelong friends from both in front and behind the coffee machine.
What’s one thing you appreciate about the coffee/cafe industry?
I appreciate all of the hard work that goes into producing a speciality cup of coffee. From the coffee farmers, to the coffee roasters, to the baristas, to the alternative milk producers – the journey from bean to cup consists of a lot of dedication and passion. Sometimes you forget about the many steps involved in making that delicious espresso. It’s interesting to think about and it certainly makes you appreciate that coffee even more!
What’s your favourite dairy free milk type?
Definitely oat. The alternative milk has a nice creamy texture and its mild flavour goes well with coffee. I have found some alternative milks to have a strong and overpowering flavour.
But Alternative Barista oat milk is perfectly balanced.
How do you enjoy your oat?
A Long Mac ¾ topped up – WA style haha.
How important is it to buy local, buy Australian?
I think buying local is a no brainer. Supporting local helps small businesses grow, which provides more employment opportunities and helps build a strong economy. Plus, it has a better carbon footprint. In addition, I personally like to know where the things I buy come from as it gives me more confidence in the quality.
How do you think ADC performs?
To put it simply – great! Overall, I have been very impressed with how well the almond/soy/oat milk textures. Everyone I talk to agrees. Alternative Dairy Co. is one of the best alternative milk producers.
What did your experience through COVID teach you?
There is no doubt COVID was a challenge for everyone. We were all dealing with a changing situation that no one had experienced before. Unsurprisingly, business was slower for us during this time. As Karvan’s Barista Trainer I spent a lot of the time working on training videos for YouTube and assessing how we can provide barista training online. Even though things were uncertain it did provide us with some time to review and reflect on our processes and operations. We were very lucky in WA that business was almost back to normal after the initial lockdown.
What do you aspire to do/be in the future both professionally or personally?
I would like to keep building on the current barista training programmes we offer, extending more into school groups. I’ve really enjoyed the schools that we have been working with and it’s great to see the next generation of barista’s taking shape. For my personal growth, the goal is to get into and learn more about roasting. I’ve been on the fringe of the roasting room for a long time and know the basics but I’m itching to get in there and give it a proper go
What’s one thing that people may not know about you?
I’m a foster carer for SAFE (Saving Animals From Euthanasia). I have helped re-home about 15 dogs/puppies. It’s so great to see them go off to their new families. It can be hard work as most of the animals that are surrendered have not had a good start in life and are very timid with very little training. But it’s so rewarding to give them a second chance.