Meet The Barista: Luke Roberts, Crave Cafe

Barista Manager Luke Roberts always knew that something other than attending university would be his career path. He was driven by socialisation and creating community. 

“I'm way too much of a people person who needs new social interactions daily. This led me to the hospitality industry almost immediately,” revealed Roberts. 

Beginning as a dish hand, and working his way slowly up the ladder to the kitchen hand, front of the house, before finally finding a home as a barista. Roberts described his natural talent of having customers under his care become regulars as the inspiration behind his motivation to build a network and happy community stemming from his childhood experiences. 

“There was this little cafe in Titirangi village where I grew up that played a big part in bringing the community together. It had the type of energy which made you always feel welcome.” 

Roberts enjoyed watching the regulars return to this small Titirangi cafe and how these daily interactions led to learning more about their lives. He has found this to be the most rewarding aspect of his current job as a barista. 

Roberts believes the pandemic has created a more profound appreciation as the number of customers working from home makes getting a coffee from local a small getaway from their day. He stated that those who already had coffee machines to do the work had remained the same. 

The barista shared that the particular skills from working within the industry make all the difference for customers. 

“Latte art doesn’t make a coffee taste better, but it lets you know the barista knows what they are doing and adds to the overall experience of the coffee. I feel that people appreciate the little things a bit more with covid making its dent in many people's lives.”

As a true lover of his craft, Roberts stated that the mark of a great coffee comes down to the colour of crema, sharing that if it’s a mix between bitter caramel and acidic flavours, the coffee will be a perfect balance. However, he revealed that the quality of products and the age of beans also significantly impact coffee quality. 

With consumer inclination towards plant-based products, Roberts noted that this has also been noticed in the cafe industry. 

“Oat milk has been huge. So much so that we sell more oat milk than regular milk.” 

Roberts's favourite blend is his cafe's newly introduced Common Good Coffee Blend, ‘MYLK’, which he described perfectly paired with oat or soy milk due to its acidity and flavour palate. 

However, when ordering his coffee, Roberts mixes his milk of choice, choosing a regular tulip flat white for his breakthrough coffee of the day before moving on to oat flat white for his second. 

When he’s not making coffee, Roberts dabbles in music, enjoying vinyl and mixing music in his spare time with his friends.