AlumniBarista on a Bike

César Ritz Colleges graduate Binny Varghese went on a 100-day motorbike tour across India to learn as much as he could about coffee in his home country. We talked to him to find out what he uncovered and how he became known as Barista on a Bike.

What gave you the idea to bike around India in search of good coffee?

People in India normally drink instant coffee. I thought this was really quite sad because India is the 6th largest producer of coffee in the world and we sell most of our coffee outside the country. I wanted to see for myself in order to understand why it was so hard to find a great cup of coffee in this country.

Binny Varghese Bachelor of Arts in Hotel Management.

 

What did you discover about coffee on your journey?

When I was travelling in the north of India, people said that if you drink coffee, your skin would turn dark.

I met people in the east and north who believed that if you drink coffee, you become a little mad.

And many others believed that due to the caffeine in coffee, after drinking it you wouldn’t be able to sleep (even though it actually contains the same amount as tea).

And many people were convinced that coffee was a drink only for the rich.

On my travels, it was amazing to uncover the many different myths that surrounded coffee.

How would you describe a good cup of coffee?

It all depends on your personal preference. The idea is to try as much coffee as possible but it has to be fresh coffee – when its fresh it is the best thing in the world. When I say “fresh”, I mean- recently roasted and freshly ground. The best cup of coffee is a myth. It does not exist. This is because the best cup of coffee for you will be different compared to the best cup of coffee for me.

Binny Varghese Bachelor of Arts in Hotel Management.

 

Have you always wanted to work in hospitality?

My love for food started when I was little, helping my mom in the kitchen. I started working as a cook about 11 years ago when I was in college. At the time in India, most chefs were not supposed to go out and meet the guests. This has now changed. But I have a passion for people and the guests so early on I decided to move towards F&B service with a focus on training.

What are your responsibilities as the Training and Innovation Manager at Coffee Equipment and Machine Company.

The company deals with coffee equipment and machines in India. I train baristas and educate and coach people venturing into coffee entrepreneurship. I consult business owners on what machines they should buy and how to approach their marketing and finances. I also provide train the trainer workshops and provide initial instructions for internal staff.

How has this position shaped your love for coffee in India?

The role allows for a lot of experimentation with coffee and the machinery and opens up opportunities to travel overseas for trade shows and coffee events.

The ultimate goal is to build a strong community of coffee in India that is interconnected by their passion.

Coffe & Bike Binny Varghese Bachelor of Arts in Hotel Management.

 

What’s next for Barista on a Bike?

I would like to do another trip. The next journey could be about the people behind the coffee scene, more about how it is done, how people put in their heart and soul into coffee. I did my first Barista on Bike trip in India and Nepal, so next time I would like to go even further, perhaps go to the east side of India where coffee is grown. Most importantly though, I just want to explore more about coffee on my motorcycle.


Bachelor of Arts
in Hospitality Business Management

Binny Varghese graduated from César Ritz Colleges Switzerland with a Bachelor of Arts in Hotel Management.

Bachelor of Arts MA in Hospitality MA in Entrepreneurship
 
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