Coffee Talk with Anne Marie

It’s been a month now, since the day we officially switched our coffee. How are you settling on the new flavour? We sure are doing pretty well. Just ask the baristas. Their mission to keep us happily caffeinated is truly noble.

With this renewed interest in all things coffee, we took a chance to chat with Anne Marie, one of our baristas in Sentosa Cove – a friendly face that regulars over there are very familiar with.

Want to know more about her thoughts on the new blend and, you know, life at Kith in general? Read on.

Just a tip though. Article is best enjoyed with a cup of coffee, of course. 😉

Now savouring. Aeropress black coffee.

Coffee; it’s a serious business – Anne and her cup of classic Long Black.

First and foremost, old or new. Which blend do you prefer?
The new blend.

Why do you say so? How would you describe the difference in taste between the two?
The new blend is a lot fuller in the mouth. You can taste the coffee even when it’s mixed with milk. They go very well together. The old blend is a darker roast, slightly more acidic. Not as smooth as the new one definitely.

How would you describe your personal taste profile?
I like coffee that is strong and slightly acidic. For example, if I take espresso, I’ll have a double to up the taste. With milk, I like something that’s really smooth, a little sour, and chocolatey. Our new blend’s something like that. I like single-origin coffee too.

Espresso from the Kith Blend. Rich, creamy and smooth.

Rich, creamy and smooth extraction from the Kith Blend.

How did you first get acquainted with coffee making?
I first learnt coffee at Kith. Was doing service and got into the bar because they were shorthanded. I started in the juice bar making juices, smoothies, protein shakes, other cold drinks.. before I got to pull my first espresso shot. Got hooked ever since. And the interest just kept going.

Till date, Anne has made 115,000 cups of coffee and counting, spending up to 10 hours per day making them.

Till date, Anne has made 115,000 cups of coffee and counting, spending up to 10 hours per day making them.

Anne in action.

Anne in action.

What do you think is the most important quality you need to have to be a good barista?
Passion. You really need to have passion for coffee. Then you’ll naturally want to know more, learn more. There are so many things to learn about coffee. It’s never ending.

“(It’s about) passion. You really need to have passion in coffee.”

Some baristas have very high standards when it comes to deciding whether a coffee is ‘good enough’. What are your standards like?
I’m particular about the froth, and the espresso to milk ratio. These are crucial foundations to a good cup of coffee. I’ll throw them away if they’re not done properly. A lot of people have the misconception that a good cup of coffee is one with nice latte art. But that’s not always the case, and that’s not what we want. We don’t only want our coffee to look good, it has to taste good as well.

How can you tell if a coffee’s not done properly?
Many ways actually. One is to listen when the milk is frothed. There’s a really sharp sound when the milk is not frothed well. You need to have a perfect swirl when it comes to frothing, so you shouldn’t have that irritating sound. Texture of the frothed milk should look velvety, glossy and very smooth.

A good cup of coffee is not just about the beans. How the milk is frothed plays a big part as well.

A good cup of coffee is not just about the beans. How the milk is frothed plays a crucial part as well.

Do you have a signature latte art?
The rosetta! Took a while to learn and practice, and now it’s my favourite.

The proud latte artist.

Our proud latte artist.

Her next challenge - the swan art. Never stop trying.

Anne’s next challenge: the swan. Never stop trying.

Besides coffee of course, what other beverage in Kith do you love the most?
Diet coke haha! Nah it’s the blended watermelon lychee. Because it’s super refreshing.

What are some of the weirdest drink orders you’ve encountered?
Hot milkshakes. Deconstructed ice latte – ice, espresso shot and milk all on the side. Milkshake with ice cream on the side. We try our best to accede to these requests but it really depends. Things like hot milkshake, it’s not possible. We just have to advise the customer nicely.

Do you have a beverage that you’d love to create? If yes, what would it be?
Mm. Something with mango and coffee… Blended mango coffee? Inspired from a mango kahlua cocktail I saw online. Actually you know what. I think we can try it now!

Do you have a favourite ingredient that you love to use when it comes to preparing your drinks?
LOVE! Haha. Anybody can do drinks the same way. But if you don’t put your heart in it, people will know.

We know morning shifts can begin rather early. What helps you wake up in the morning?
Making coffee for people who come here? It’s very satisfying to see customers happy when they get their morning coffee. It’s heartwarming and I don’t want to disappoint them. So I need to be here on time. It’s all about the customers. And it’s especially nice when someone comes up and tells you that you make the best coffee. That’s something that keeps me going.

“Anybody can do drinks the same way. But if you don’t put your heart in it, people will know. “

Have you had any frustrating moments on the job?
It can get really frustrating when you’re in a mad rush and the drink orders just keep coming. At times like these, I’ll just walk away and take deep breaths to calm myself down. It helps. This is a tough job, but at the end of the day, you’ll feel super accomplished. You’ll go like – if I can do this, I can accomplish a lot.

What’s the one thing about Kith that’s special to you?
We are one big family! The job can get demanding sometimes, but at the end of the day, we know we’ll get through this together. And I believe this starts from the top. Jane (the boss) and Liz (the ops manager) really holds the company together.

Kith Family

Part of the big family. As with all Kith groupies, there’ll somehow always be the subjects + a photobomber 😛

Before we conclude, any words of advice for aspiring baristas out there?
Always prepare for the worst. If you are prepared for the worst, nothing can beat you down. You’ll just be motivated to want to do more.

“Always prepare for the worst. If you are prepared for the worst, nothing can beat you down.” Yes Anne, we can see that 😀

PS Inspired by Anne’s words?
Feel free to experience it yourself and be part of the Kith family! For more details, head on to kith.com.sg/join-our-team 🙂


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2 responses to “Coffee Talk with Anne Marie

  1. Hi Kith – I have been a regular customer of yours for 5 years, first at Roberson Quay and when I can, at Sentosa when I’m there with friends and family. In my quest to find the best coffee I have tried almost all of the good cafes and roasts around Singapore – Forty Hands, Toby’s Estate, Plains, Dutch Colony, Allpress, Common Man to name a few. I always come back to Kith for the best consistent flavour and I ALWAYS buy your beans fresh every couple of weeks so I can enjoy your coffee at home too (I live at Bukit Timah). However I am sad to say that I don’t like your new blend. I have tried various grind sizes and different milk brands but it’s just not the same 😦 it doesn’t have the same depth and robust flavour. Please please can you go back to the original blend? Your loyal customer – Gillian

    Like

    • Hi Gillian,

      Firstly, thanks loads for your support over the years and we certainly hope you’ll continue to do so!

      To give you some background, our old blend is of a darker roast, hence giving the coffee a stronger, more bitter aftertaste. As such, the coffee is perceived to be stronger and, as you’ve mentioned, more robust.

      Our new blend on the other hand is only lightly roasted since it’s made up of much higher quality specialty beans so we can, as much as possible, preserve the original aroma from the beans. The resulting flavour is therefore lighter, more aromatic, without the heavy bitterness that we tend to get as a by-product from the darker roasts.

      This lightness is also the main reason why customers tend to perceive the new blend as weaker, despite having the same amount of espresso shots.

      It wasn’t an easy decision for us to finally make the switch, knowing that regulars like you may find it hard to get used to the new taste. But rest assure that we only want the best for you guys!

      We did a blind test with our guys before we switched and a good 80% of us actually picked the new blend as it’s a lot more smooth and easy on the palette.

      How do you find the coffees in our cafe? Do you find them weak as well?
      If that’s the case, we’d recommend adding another shot to your coffee to amplify the flavour without loosing the smoothness.

      Let us know if theses additional shots help?
      Otherwise, you can approach any of our baristas and we can definitely work together to concoct the perfect cup of coffee that you’ll enjoy (:

      Keep in touch!

      Cheers,
      Kith

      Like

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