– Can you please introduce yourself in a few words.
My name is Luis Alvarez, originally a Mechanical Engineer from Venezuela who found passion for coffee after moving to Europe. Currently living in Dublin, Ireland for the last 5 years.
– What’s your story in the coffee industry?
I started working in a coffee shop here in Dublin out of necessity, I needed to pay the bills, so I found a job in a local coffee franchise named Butlers Chocolates. I quickly developed some good skills in Latte Art and my training managers saw it and invited me to join company competitions as well as National Latte Art Championships. Eventually I was a finalist in the Irish Latte Art Championship for three years in a row, and then they offered me to take part in the National Barista Championship. I didn’t go to the nest round but I learned so so much and a lot of people started to know me. After that I got offered a job for Dublin Barista School as a head trainer, and there I spent 3 years of my career learning and teaching hundreds of people everything I knew about coffee and latte art. I’ve been a judge for the last two Irish Brewers Cup, and have participated in 3 National Aeropress Championships.
Recently I found a new job with an Irish Coffee Company called Java Republic as Quality Control and Coffee Consultant.
In the next couple of months I’ll become an AST, so the learning process is far from stopping.
– What’s your specialty and what makes you different?
I guess it’s my ability to connect with people. I developed a way to teach in which I honestly feel I can help people getting a job and changing their mind about coffee. I think it’s important to share knowledge, and if you manage to do it in a fun, interactive and honest way, people’s perception about you will always be positive.
– What was your first coffee experience?
I will say my very very first one was trying to make make cappuccinos back home in Venezuela, when I had no knowledge at all about the coffee industry, And I was making black coffee filtered with a cloth filter, then adding dry milk to hot water and putting the whole thing in the blender. I gotta be honest, the texture was great! Hahaha
– How/when have you discovered about specialty coffee?
After I left the Irish franchise I was working for. That’s when I started going to every single specialty coffee shop that I knew was out there. Started experimenting with filter coffee, discovering new flavours and aromas, training my palate. Once you take that path there’s no going back.
– What was your best coffee experience?
There has been many, but I must admit the first time I was on stage for my latte art presentation was pretty special. There I was in another country, speaking in public in another language showing a new skill. My family was very happy. And the following year when I got a place in the Top 3 in the country was a great moment too.
– Do you prepare coffee at home ? If yes, what method do you use?
Hahahaha that’s a great question, so I work in the coffee industry most of the time making coffees for other people and for myself. So when I’m free I usually go to some coffee shops to have somebody else making me a coffee for once hahaha. However, if I have to make coffee at home I would use a V60.
– How do you like your coffee? Black, sugar and milk, iced, vietnamese style,…?
Black as in Americano and Filter Coffee as in V60, Chemex or Batch Brew, but hey, I’m super open minded when it comes to tasting different things.
– How would you qualify yourself as coffee drinker (occasional, heavy, addict…)?
Addict, hands down. Coffeeholic, whatever you want to call it. I might need to plug it to my veins some day.
– Have you always been into the coffee industry? If not, what was your previous job?
No, Before moving to Dublin I was working as a Mechanical Engineer in my country. I knew that leaving my country was going to represent new challenges and probably a change of career and… here I am.
– Do you have another passion or a hobby besides coffee?
YES! Movies and whiskey. I’ve always been a movie maniac, to the point that sometime in my life I considered studying film, but for know I just love movies, #I analyze them from a directorial perspective, cinematography, etc.
When it comes to whiskey, after moving to Dublin and discovering Irish Whiskey (we drink Scotch back home) I started going to some tastings and masterclasses. Eventually I started learning and learning more and more, and now I consider Whiskey to be not only a social commodity but also something that it’s exciting to learn about.
– What other place would you recommend, anywhere in the world (coffee or not)?
I guess the question refers to which places would I recommend for coffee… In that regard, I would say three places: Budapest, Berlin and Brussels. Funny BBB. Copenhagen is also cool.
– What is/are your favorite website(s) to get information about coffee?
I’m very very active on social media, so I get most of my info from Instagram. I follow people like Colin Harmon (Ireland), Matt Perger (Australia) but I also enjoy reading Perfect Daily Grind. Barista and Caffeine Magazine are also great source of information.
– What would you say to people who don’t know much about coffee?
Come with me, you’ll enjoy spending a couple of hours with me and I promise you that you will learn a lot and you will change your perception about coffee.