Get to know a barista: Lachlan Kinnaird of Jimmy's Coffee
When I walk into Jimmy's Coffee on an unseasonably warm December morning it's rammed inside. There's a warm buzz to the place. I ask for Lachlan. The barista behind the counter says he's out front, somewhere. As I start to walk to the door, the barista asks me to also take Lachlan's single Americano for him, as it's now ready. Sure, why not? I walk out the front door as Lachlan turns the corner from the alleyway beside Jimmy's. I call his name not knowing if it's him or not and he glances back with a wry smile. "Yeah?" he responds with a slight Australian lilt. "You the writer?" We proceed to take a seat out front of the King West coffee spot so I can get to know him a little better.
How long have you been a barista?
About eight years now since I've been making this stuff. I did it back home. Home is Australia, Melbourne. My mom, she's a chef and they had cafes when I was growing up, so on the school holidays that's usually what I was doing. The shop was a lot like this, just on a busier street. Little shops, that's what they're all like back home.
Favourite customer and why?
Someone who comes in and knows their coffee; knows what they like. But who is not picky about it. They trust me to make it the way that I make it. But they come in for the chat more than the coffee. I mean, it is about the coffee, but it's also about the interaction between two people.
What's your secret for pulling the perfect shot?
It is just attentiveness. You always have to be watching it. Always got to be tasting. Always got to be feeling. Yeah, as long as you're paying attention to what's happening, then you should be fine. I mean, practice makes perfect. Coffee is the biggest example of that. I made coffee for four years without doing any better at it. All it takes is one thing and you get a lot better at it.
Do you moonlight as a writer, actor, artist and/or adult film director?
No. This is what I've been doing. This is always what I've done and this is probably what I'll keep doing. I do this because I like it. It's fun. For me, like I said, it's about the interaction. I don't come to work every day to pull espresso, necessarily, I come to work every day to enjoy the interactions. It just so happens over espresso.
What's something that no one else knows about you?
Shit, there's a lot, man. As a barista, you're secretive. God, I don't even know. That's a tough question. Well, I'm drunk half the time I'm doing this. Every Friday. After lunchtime.
Favourite Toronto hideout?
I like the upstairs at the Rivoli. Playing some pool, drinking some beers. One of the things about this neighbourhood is that everyone recognizes you. It's like being a bartender being a barista, everyone sees you. I hang out at the Rivoli and very rarely see people I know.
Best album to spin at work?
I like a bit of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blood Sex Sugar Magik. Just classic. Every song is a hit. If not that, lately I've been pulling some Black Keys.
To take the nerves out of customers, how do you properly order an Americano?
Usually what we do here is just ask, "What do you usually have?" And if someone says to me, "I usually have a double-double," and I'm like, "Well, let me make you a double Americano and put as much cream and sugar and see if you like that."
What I stand by in coffee is how you drink it. Not how I drink it. If you want a triple Americano with caramel and some steamed almond milk, what do I give a fuck? That's how you like it. As a bartender, and still am, if you want a martini a certain way--if you want me to drown the shit out of it with vermouth, I'll do that. Because you're paying the money to have that. So you should have it however you like it. Coffee is no different.
How do you take your coffee?
Single Americano. A bit of sugar.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
Dogs or cats? Dogs.
Beards or mustaches? Beards.
Bikes or streetcars? Bikes.
Rob Ford or Tim Hortons? Tim Hortons! [Laughs his ass off]
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