Meet The Barista: Andi Gilgenrainer from The Origin

The Origin is a cafe-restaurant located in Christchurch, that serves up healthy and delicious pure vegan meals and drinks. Their kitchen offers dedicated, pure plant-based cuisine from a variety of European and Asian styles. The name of the cafe derives from the short phrase, “Knowing the Origin.” As their mission is to  “Find the Origin of life, spread health, hope, environmental protection, and civilisation to every corner of the world.”

We spoke with Andi Gilgenrainer, the Head Barista at The Origin to find out more about his journey into the specialty coffee scene. Andi originally started in the IT sector but in arriving in New Zealand in 2014 he began on an unexpected ride that was full of surprises. He uncovered the aesthetics, subtlety and thoughtfulness from crop to cup and from then on - the process awakened an unknown passion within his heart. 

The Origin cafe truly values the ‘crop to cup’ experience and are passionate about sourcing the highest-quality single-origin coffee beans from all around the world that also helps to support the farmers, community and sustainability. They small-batch micro-roast to create unique blends that will tantalize customers taste buds with every sip.

Gilgenrainer conveyed to us how in becoming a barista he has the unique privilege of being the bridge between the farmers, roaster and finally the customer. In being meticulous and paying attention to each detail they are paying respect to everyone involved in the process. Through this sustainable approach, they are bridging the culture of specialty coffee to the customer. For Andi, this is one of the many rewarding aspects of being a barista. Another aspect and the most stand out for Andi are the relationships that you can form. Especially the connections to the farmers, staff and customers as these key relationships will decide the quality of experience you can offer to your local community.

Plant-based alternatives whether that be meat or milk have doubled in the past five years in New Zealand and The Origin is well ahead of the curve with this. One of the most integral elements of The Origin’s ethos is their offering of a vegan and plant-based menu - including all of their drinks and coffee. Andi voiced how their espresso single Origin is roasted light, so it blends incredibly well with any alternative milk - a win/win. 

Plant-based alternatives have been on the rise and from Andi’s observations over the past two years, he has noticed oat milk has become the new superstar on the brewbar. Andi added that oat milk, in particular, has gained such traction due to its impressive quality in flavour, subtleness and additionally its great environmental benefits of production. 

For Andi, the defining features of a great coffee are a combination of the special aroma and flavours. These are found in the story which lead you back to the origin and make you truly appreciate the craft of such an exotic drink. “Coffee, it’s not just what’s in your cup.”

In terms of the pandemic and COVID19, The Origin was thrilled after New Zealand shifted down from level 3 to finally be able to welcome their customers back inside their unique cafe. “We did not just want to offer a Cafe environment, but an environment where you can have a moment to think, be creative, have a good conversation or just look at the world passing by. Therefore our music and aesthetics have been carefully selected to create such an atmosphere!”

“If you are in Christchurch make sure to stop in and say “Hi” to the crew. We are more than happy to introduce you to our culture and have a chat about the world of specialty coffee.”