Get to Know a Barista: Jason Galbraith of Rooster Coffee House
It's always amazing how many people you'll find at Riverdale's Rooster Coffee House on any given mid-morning or mid-afternoon - times that are usually lulls for downtown cafes on busy streets. The big table at the back with the pile of board games is full, but no one is playing Scrabble, and Jason Galbraith is behind the bar, pulling shots for the crowd.
Rooster is the exception to the rule that street traffic is what makes a cafe thrive - in sight of the Sun Yat-Sen statue across the street in Riverdale Park, with a panoramic view of downtown across the Don Valley, Rooster is smack in the middle of a row of houses and apartments with million dollar views, which is probably what's made it the neighbourhood's cafe of choice.
Galbraith excuses himself from behind the espresso machine and says that the only quiet place to talk is the basement, where music is still being piped in to serenade the boxes and excess cafe furniture.
How long have you been a barista?
Off and on, 10 years.
Favorite customer and why?
That's a tough one. I don't think I can narrow it down to one. I'm gonna have to say this lady Penny, because when I serve her she has the biggest smile all the time, and it makes me feel like I'm doing something right when I make it, and I make her day, so that's good.
What's your secret for pulling the perfect shot?
Attention to detail. Just making sure it's running right and smooth and tasting good all the time, and watching it.
Do you moonlight as a writer, actor, artist, and/or adult film actor?
Musician. I have two bands. One's called John Smith, a punk rock/hardcore thing, and the other's called Lee Serviss, it's more like country/folk.
What's something that no one else knows about you?
I'm pretty open - I don't hide anything. Do I have to say something? I'm not always happy, because everyone thinks I'm always happy.
Favorite Toronto hideout?
Trinity Bellwoods Park.
Best album to spin at work?
The new Deer Tick (Divine Providence).
To take the nerves out of customers, how do you properly order an Americano?
Just ask for an Americano.
How do you take your coffee?
I take it macchiato — or the microlatte.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
-Dogs or cats? Dogs.
-Jay-Z or RUN-DMC? Run-DMC.
-Rocket or submarine? Rocket
-Beards or moustaches? Moustaches
-Rob Ford or Tim Hortons? Tim Hortons
Photos by Joel Yum