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October 7 - 9, 2022 / Metropolitan Pavilion
21 November 2019
An Interview with New York's Best Barista, Dylan Klymenko

how dylan launched his coffee career and ended up being crowned new york's best barista.

 

What’s the best part about being a barista in NYC?
 

The people. Come on! How can you not have a good time with the people around here? It doesn’t hurt that I grew up in New Jersey, so I feel right at home interacting with our clientele. There’s a certain brand of humor and drive that people around here have.

You also get to see so much creativity! That’s a perk of working at a café, I think. Many creatives seek out spaces like ours because they find them conducive to their productivity. It's cool to think that as a barista, you play a small part in helping other people pursue their dreams, whether it's through an encouraging smile, supportive words or making their favorite drink that keeps them energized.


How did you start your career?
 

Everything I learned about being a barista has come from my on-the-job experience at Liv Breads and my time spent at Counter Culture Coffee's (CCC) NYC training center in SoHo.  

Before my official start at Liv Breads, I was so eager to become a good barista that I paid for the Espresso at Home course that CCC makes available to the public. After that, I attended courses through their Professional Development Barista Certification Program, where I was taught and mentored by Ryan Ludwig and Jenna Gotthelf. At the time, I was working full time and I would go to the training center on days off.

When classes weren't available, I'd book practice time on their La Marzocco Linea PB espresso machine and try to focus on a particular skill, like increasing my speed and consistently steaming milk to the proper temperature. On July 31, 2019, almost a year after my journey started, all my hard work had paid off; I received news that I passed the training program, becoming one of the 50 Counter Culture Coffee-certified baristas working in the US — and the only one in New Jersey.

The journey didn't stop there. Every day, I'm learning something new and refining a current technique.
 

Where do you see your coffee career progressing?

 

I see myself getting more involved in the educational side, whether it's training new baristas or the coffee-curious public. Something I love about being a barista is information provision. Customers look to us for guidance on what would work best for them both at the café and in their own home. It’s satisfying to be able to offer them an educated point of view and know they're leaving the shop knowing a little bit more about coffee.

I also see myself getting the itch to enter barista competitions, and without a doubt, I plan to continue to learn about the coffee scene and techniques whenever I travel to new places.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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