As a newbie to 200 Degrees I'm still meeting the teams and individual staff that make us who we are. Today I had the pleasure of meeting Tereza, a passionate barista in Queen Streets Cardiff store. Passionate doesn't really do her justice…
Finding her love of coffee
Tereza is a charismatic barista, born and raised in the Czech Republic where, she proclaims with much distain, “ The coffee was terrible! Fine ground coffee with boiling water poured over it.” It wasn’t until 17 that Tereza had her first blue skies coffee experience. “A friend of mine actually made me my first cup of coffee I liked although to this day I don't know what it was. It was in a Moroccan style coffee shop, he wore checked shirts, looked cool, just casually chatted to people and made coffee. I was hooked.”
Time to leave Czech Rep & sample the UK
I then tried to keep up with Tereza’s travels and, I must confess, there were so many places in such short a time I won’t do her justice. She finally ended up in Bristol, handed her CV to Café Nero without knowing much about them - and very little about coffee - and got hired.
“Nero do a great motivation program to support and grow you and become store manager, but I then became more interested in speciality coffee”. So Tereza made the brave move to leave her comfort zone and follow her passion, travelling to places like Brazil, Japan and the US and saw them “doing coffee differently”. Inspired this changed her direction and she was keen to learn more about coffee.
Specialist coffee wasn’t right…
It wasn’t long until Tereza had volunteered at the World Barista Championship in Dublin. “I knew I wanted to find out more about speciality coffee and this seemed like a good place to start. But I actually didn't enjoy it at all!” This shocked me as I expected obsessive enthusiasm, but she goes on to explain “They had the newest Black Eagles, best coffee and skills, but it was really pretentious."
More travelling and self-discovery, and 200 Degrees
What to do this situation? Jump back on the plane for some more travelling! It was time to hit Germany’s speciality coffee scene in Berlin. “They have more than 45 speciality coffee shops. They're really chilled and it made me realise it was another side of the same coin.” So, armed with this new realisation that it didn’t have to be pretentious, she returned to Cardiff and approached 200 Degrees, who have specialist elements but no pretention.
As part of her self-improvement she embarked on the most respected and recognised training course she could find for coffee, the SCA Coffee Diploma training program.
And so Tereza’s began her teaching career in 200 Degrees' Barista School in Cardiff. She gives me a whirl around her beloved school and has developed a program that sounds fun and informative. She’s very conscious about how to bring the content to life and is brisling with ideas to improve almost every aspect.
200 Degrees is special
So, what of her time so far at 200 Degrees? “I love how casual 200 Degrees is and how relaxed we are. For customers it's so easy to come in and chat, and there's no forcing our knowledge on customers (but we can talk to them about coffee on their level if they want it).
We can also come up with our own recipe for coffees which we share internally and have some healthy debates about them across the team and stores.” I think this pretty much sums up what 200 Degrees represents, and Tereza seems to be living proof.
What do you love the most about work?
Having asked what she loves the most about her job the answer is “Our team. And I really like our coffee machine and give it a hug when I come back from travelling and get straight on it. I enjoy teaching now too which I didn't think I'd ever enjoy."
“My dream (read that as ‘plan’) is to become a Q Grader of which there's only about 4000 in the world that would allow me to travel to the farms more often and share the story of the farmers.”
Some images are from Teressa's instagram account @czech_barista_tee. You can follow us too @200degs