​Barista, only the strong survive

Dany Marquis

Dany MarquisYou're behind the espresso machine during a rainy afternoon. The coffee is full and customers arrive one after the other. You master your environment, you're an artist, a warrior.  You've put on some music that groove and you move behind the bar like a dancer. You manage to keep your environment clean between each client but there comes a time when the number of customers is too high for one barista. You feel this moment will happen. You've already lived this moment. The summer is coming, the infernal rushes too.
But now you're alone. The boss said that the sales are not high enough to justify two baristas... We love the boss but sometimes ...
Then we give a little more, despite the dishes that accumulates. The counter is small. You're forced to take clients in groups of 3 or 4 and take their order, the cash and align your small receipt next to the espresso machine.
Two large lattes
A small cappuccino
Hot chocolate
Two iced mochas with vanilla
Getting ready to do all that but look at the people in the line, throwing them a little look that mean: "That's ok baby, I’m yours in 2 minutes, I'll make you the best coffee you ever had.” The wink is superfluous.  Beverages are attacked. But orders and returning back. Like the heads of the Hydra that grow as Hercules cut them. You feel like Hercules. And when it burns without stubs their head, he realizes they no longer repel. But you can’t burn customers, the boss would not agree ... So the idea of closing the door with the key comes to your mind. The boss wouldn’t like that either.
The waiting time increases. We keep our mojo. It's cool. When you turned back to flush a pitcher, pick up a syrup, you stop smiling for a few seconds, you breathe with the belly to return to the front. Smiling.
Herbal tea
mokaccino with a milk chocolate
Hot chocolate sir, is made with water?
With Cocoa Powder?
Ok, hot chocolate with dark chocolate
(Normally, you explain that you make a ganache with chocolate from Barry Callebault but then you're in a trance, the process of communication with customers come to get behind the reptilian brain)
An espresso
Two drip coffees
You strongly wish that nobody asks you a french press, or other type of manual preparation.
(Can I get the Rwanda Bourbon please, pour brew V60? ----- Noooooooooooooooo!)
The coffee is always full. You can’t hear the music. At this point, you function but it is fragile, you're on the edge of dropping a pitcher of milk, get empty coffee in grinder, empty paper in the cash register, we say that if something happens, you will manage it.  And now customers continue to come in mass, you begin to see tangled, to stagger. Stress. You return back to the client to rinse the gigantic blender jugs. You in to take a few seconds of rest. You look over your shoulder line of customers.
You say: "one at a time." You return to the front. With a clearer mind, you realize that you have milk in your glasses and there are spoons ground. You take a step back, you clean your glasses and gathered spoons. You take away a volley of commands. You see clearly, you feel confident. You move in your space like a boss, you smile, you make jokes with customers. Your enthusiasm fills the air. The clatter of your tip pot increase for one octave.
You slowly take control of the bar.  Your environment is messy; milk everywhere, ice on the floor, coffee on the counter, the thrash bins are full. You're at your 10th pint of milk in 15 minutes. You send back your regulars customers waiting to pay. They will pay tomorrow.  And suddenly you feel an energy, a blip in the air. You raise your predator's eyes, erect your ears, nose to the wind and you see the beast ... Your body is covered with goosbump chills. A beast, yellow bright, the seemingly innocuous animal just park in front of the cafe. You know. You know too well what it contains. You expect it. Customers is laughing and waiting to see what will happens next.
A bus filled with French tourists opens the door and lets landing one after the other. The animal let out and you see them move towards coffee. It was there, at that time, that the split occurs in your soul. You now know that your behavior will determine your camp. A true barista is not afraid of anything. You think at the boss and you hear it say:
"Barista, find your mojo"
You draw back, you see the coffee surrounded by a whitish halo and filter holdersLa Marzocco Linea
sparkle of a bluish glow. Coffee beans floating and dancing above the mill. You spread your legs, pointed the nose toward the ceiling, and throw a primal scream that resonates in the cafe. Everyone jumps and silent. Silence. You go again to hear the music and laugh coming from French tourist. You take time to change the music, take a sip of water.
The French arrive, you pass through their order one after the other. They find your accent friendly, but they do not know that your reptilian brain has now taken control of your mind. Your language is a mixture of ape-like growl and Klingon but your movements are precise and effective. Your reflexes are conditioned by training. Each brew is a work of art.
The French tourist left.
Customers leave.
You stay alone with yourself. I dreamed? You ask yourself. But the sight of your counter proves not. You survived. You swollen torso and make your closing, your cash, bins, floor.
You leave the coffeeshop, checked the windows. You take a breath of air and you're leaving home. During the trip for home, you enter an unknown stage of meditation that allows you to come back to yourself. A necessary transitional period to not alert your family, your friends. Civilians do not understand and might be afraid.
You go home. You know.
You're a barista!


  • Virginie

    Il fut un temps où, après avoir joué au parc tout près de la Brûlerie du Quai, j’amenais mes enfants boire un bon chocolat chaud. Nous nous sommes souvent fait surprendre par le vent qui nous glaçait mais que nous bravions parce que jouer en famille c’est la vie à l’état pur. La chaleur du breuvage, la crème fouettée, les guimauves étaient une récompense et un vrai réconfort. Mon insistance auprès de Dany fait qu’aujourd’hui je me retrouve derrière le bar depuis 4 semaines. Je suis aussi une guerrière, ceinture noire de judo. L’adrénaline que procurent les rush, c’est le combat. Maintenir cette adrénaline à son plus haut niveau sans verser dans la noradrénaline qui cause la panique, l’anxiété et une envie de s’éffondrer en pleurant. Le combat est toujours avec soi-même. Repousser ses limites, contrôler ses émotions, être concentré à la tâche pour que les gestes soient précis et que le résultat frôle la perfection qui se transfère au client avec la première gorgée. L’échange est là. Au judo, c’est le premier principe: entraide et prospérité mutuelle. La perfection c’est le partage du bien, du bon et du beau. Venez y goûter!

  • JS L-Gemme

    Tout est possible quand on aime ce qu’on fait !


  • Nadia

    Hahahaha! Très bien écrit!

  • Bianca Lavoie

    Haha! C’est tellement comme ça que je me sentais lorsque j’étais barista. Exactement. Les têtes de l’Hydre de Lerne. C’est tellement ça! :D

  • Yannick

    Toujours aussi beau Dany

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