Of the many people who so publicly proclaim their love of coffee (“I need #coffee in my life,” or “I can’t function without #coffee”), how many actually know anything about their beloved black beverage? Dave Dource definitely does. He’s an award-winning barista and latte artist, which are actually two different things: baristas prepare coffee and know the drink in its entirety, while latte artists specialize in froth design. He is also certified by coffee institutions in America and Europe and is on a mission to preach the good word about specialty coffee in the Philippines. Dave started out as a mechanical engineer for a company that distributed coffee machines. But as he got to know the machines he fixed, he became enamored with the drink they produced. Today, when he’s not throwing down at latte art competitions, Dave is a consultant for many different coffee shops, while also setting up his own roastery in Quezon City.
YOUNG STAR: What does is take to be a good barista?
You need to be knowledgeable about your coffee. The elevation of the coffee, where it’s planted, the soil quality, the water quality, the wind patterns — you need to know those things. Different countries have different taste profiles in their coffee. If you go to Africa, they’re well known for lemony acidity, winey flavors, very floral and light-bodied coffee. If it’s Central America, it’s very fruity. Here in the Philippines, it’s more like a woody flavor.
What advice do you have for young people looking to become baristas or latte artists?
Learning about coffee and being a barista is not complicated, but it’s also not easy. Because you just focus on one thing — you just need to know the origin of the coffee, how to prepare it, the standard procedures. And also, you need to practice your communication skills. Being a barista is offering the coffee, talking to the customer — it’s not just preparing it and giving it to the customer.
Can you tell us about the drink you prepared?
It’s a local coffee beverage — we call it café mocha de batirol. I use local coffee from Davao, and I also use Malagos chocolate. I use a blend of Arabica from Benguet and Robusta from Cavite. You need to melt the dark chocolate with hot water. I use a six-ounce cup, and we’re going to put in half an ounce of that chocolate and one ounce of your espresso. You add a quarter ounce of coconut sugar. Then you have to steep pandan leaves, for the aroma. Then you steam the milk and then you pour it.