Glasgow joins Leeds, London and Manchester as UK cities with regular coffee festivals. The city’s shipbuilding legacy is being replaced with the best in Scottish hospitality options, with coffee a centrepiece. Participating in this is master’s student and barista Adam Innes, currently head barista at Perch & Rest in Glasgow’s west side on River Kelvin. In this interview, Adam outlines his entry and development in coffee, also pointing out a curated set of content creators to hone barista skills.
When did you start your career in coffee and how did you come across the industry?
I originally started out working for a high street coffee company when I was 16 years old while still in school. This was my first job, where I learned the coffee and customer service fundamentals. It wasn’t until I decided to do some extra research and training to give me a leg up to impress my manager that I discovered speciality coffee, simply through YouTube. I was fascinated by how high grade the machines, coffee and attention to detail was.
From then, I realised that I could be making better coffee; I studied hard, and afterwards bounced around a few jobs on the search for the perfect café that was offering the opportunity to sere outstanding coffee.
What's the status of specialty coffee in Glasgow?
Glasgow’s speciality coffee scene has expanded greatly in the past few years with a handful of roasters and about a dozen shops giving it their best to show the city fantastic coffee. I find the level of quality from within the speciality scene varies from place to place. However, the coffee community in Glasgow is made up of lovely and inviting individuals from all different backgrounds which is unrivalled. This truly sets us apart when it comes to customer service.
What types of people are suited to working in coffee?
I think anyone can work in coffee. What I look for and feel inspired by are those who are undeniably passionate. In turn, that makes them hungry to always learn more and develop skills. With a tenacious drive to hone one’s craft, useful skills are developed behind the bar which can also be applied to day-to-day life. These include working well under pressure, being resilient, patient, learning how to talk to different types of people.
In my case it started as a part-time job knowing nothing of the industry or anything to do with coffee. Then developed into a full-blown lifestyle, never mind a job or hobby.
If someone is new to coffee and looking to start out, what would you recommend they start with?
Within anyone I have the pleasure of training, I always recommend checking out as many different YouTube tutorials from a diverse pool of content creators. This allows them to see what skills and techniques are common and which are specific to the individual. This will equip them with the tools to take bits and pieces from everyone and develop their own style.
I highly recommend checking out Lance Hedrick (wholesale manager of Onyx Coffee Lab) for his thorough, yet easy-to-understand guides on espresso extraction theory, milk steaming, latte art and pour over. Additionally, he makes a whole range of videos on equipment and brewers and how to get the most out of them.
Are there some central blog posts or websites that you go to gain more knowledge, develop further skills?
Yes! I regularly check out PerfectDailyGrind.com, Barista Hustle’s blog and Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) articles, as well as a few roaster newsletters to keep up-to-date with any new trends and developments in the industry.
What's next for your career? What's on the horizon and what goals do you have for the coming three years?
I plan on training for and competing in some latte art competitions, from pop-up throwdowns all the way to the UK latte art championships. Additionally, I will continue to grow my Instagram account and collaborate with other creators and brands.
In-store, as the head barista, I will continue to take on the responsibilities of, and the intricacies of running a business. In three years from now, I hope to be SCA certified and have done some freelance coffee skills training jobs at cafes and/or restaurants.
Follow Adam’s updates via @adamscoffeeglasgow on Instagram for further updates