Get to know a barista: Matthew Sonberg of R Squared
There's a flock - a herd? a gaggle? a brace? - of baristas at the counter when I drop into R Squared near Queen and Palmerston, and a lineup constantly forming. I don't know who I'm supposed to talk to, but the owner pulls me aside and introduces me to Matthew. We head to the back of the shop where the music is a bit quieter and there's a gap in the laptops.
How long have you been a barista?
For only about a year.
Favorite customer and why?
My favourite customers are the ones I've had since Sense Appeal, because they've followed from each cafe that I've worked at since and they've been loyal to me and I've always tried to treat them well.
What's your secret for pulling the perfect shot?
It's just time. There's no shortcut to experience, and the more time that you spend with the shot you get to figure out how it acts, reacts, and how it ages.
Do you moonlight as a writer, actor, artist, and/or adult film actor?
Tempted, but never actually gone anywhere with it.
What's something that no one else knows about you?
I unicycle, and I'm pretty intense about it. I go hard into it.
Favorite Toronto hideout?
I'd say Rodney's by Bay.
Best album to spin at work?
Girl Talk. All day.
To take the nerves out of customers, how do you properly order an Americano
Personally, when someone asks me when they want an American I try to ask them what flavours they're going for, so that way I can change either my grind setting or the beans I'm using, so that I can give them a product that they'll enjoy.
How do you take your coffee?
I do a quad shot of espresso, two ounces of hot water, and another four ounces of steamed milk.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
Dogs or cats? Dogs.
Jay-Z or Run-DMC? Jay-Z.
Beards or mustaches? Beard.
Rocket or submarine? I'd say submarine.
Rob Ford or Tim Hortons? Tim Horton's.