Barista on a Bike

28 July, 2021
#Alumni

Barista on a Bike

Love coffee, will travel.

By Swiss Education Group

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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, but we export most of our coffee . 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.

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What did you discover about coffee on your journey?

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

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

A lot of people were convinced that coffee was a drink only for the rich.

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 to figure out what yours is, but no matter what, it has to be fresh coffee – when it is 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-arts-hotel-management-motorbike-coffee-and-hospitality

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 had a passion for people and interaction with the guests early on, so I decided to move towards Food & Beverage service with a focus on training.

When working as training and innovation manager at Coffee Equipment and Machine Company, what were your responsibilities?

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

How did this position shape your love for coffee in India?

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

The role allowed for a lot of experimentation with coffee and the machinery and opened 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.

binny-varghese-bachelor-arts-hotel-management-motorbike-coffee-hospitality

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.

Right now, I'm running India's only coffee-dedicated podcast, Coffee Protocol. I'm also doing online coffee trainings,  consulting new coffee businesses, and helping Indian coffee farms with post-processing methods. Maybe what's most exciting is I'm about to release the first documentary on speciality coffee.

About Binny Varghese

Binny Varghese graduated from César Ritz Colleges Switzerland with a Bachelor of Arts in Hotel Management. While working on his podcast Coffee Protocol, he is also doing online coffee trainings,  consulting new coffee businesses, and helping Indian coffee farms with post-processing methods. His soon-to-be-released documentary on Indian speciality coffee is scheduled to be screened in the upcoming Speciality Coffee Association expo, taking place in New Orleans from September 30 to October 2.

Reach out to Binny on Instagram if you're interested in coffee and café consultation or training, and follow him to keep up with his coffee adventures!

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By Swiss Education Group