A man of mystery and many talents.
Meeting Saol for the first time, is an experience. He likes to keep the conversation a bit short; while at the same time, he likes to share what he knows.
Saol’s interest in coffee evolved due to work. He had his first coffee at his aunt’s wedding, when he 14. He remembers drinking a lot, being super hyper, and having an excessive amount of energy. For the next 5 years, coffee was nothing more than beverage that older people drank and give it little or no attention. Then, he got his first job working at Quay Co-Op.
At Quay Co-Op, he did pretty much everything. He started off stocking shelves and doing whatever they basically asked him to do. Then he went upstairs and started working in the restaurant. It was in the restaurant that he was exposed to making lattes and other coffee related drinks. He found a lot of enjoyment in pouring milk into the coffee. “I found it fun to pour milk into coffee.”
Eventually, he was offered a supervisors role in the Quay Co-op. He took those role for the next two years. In talking with the manager, and having tried various other coffees in the city, he approached the manager and asked to change coffee brands. The manager agreed and found a different brand: Cloud Picker.
The representative of Cloud Picker asked who wanted to learn about making coffee, everyone in the shop pointed to Saol. Saol had training off and on with the rep. When ever the rep was in the area, he would answer any questions and give some suggestions on how to improve the coffee. Eventually, everyone in the restaurant referred to Saol as the coffee guy. People were learning from him.
Saol had learned a lot about coffee. He had learned how to dial in the coffee, the importance of extraction time and water temperature, and how to distribute the proper amount of pressure when tamping. He started to realize that there was a lot more to coffee. Learning about coffee is ongoing.
While he was learning about coffee, he graduated college. And has been doing a lot of self studying since he has left college. Now, a lot of that is due to the current Covid 19 crisis. Regardless, Saol does take the initiative to learn and develop his knowledge base.
He has taken a wine tasting course. The wine tasting course was a lovely sag-way into how to taste coffee. The process is super similar. You smell the wine/ coffee. You slurp it to aerate the wine/coffee to bring out the flavours. You swish the wine/coffee in your mouth to taste those underlying tasting notes. In the coffee world, they call this process cupping. Something that coffee roasters do to make sure that coffee tastes great.
At SOMA Coffee Company, at 23 Tuckey Street, has their own roaster. They roast in house and hold cuppings. Saol, was interested in their coffee. His interest led to him asking for a job. He started working at SOMA 2, recently, one sometimes twice a week.
When asked about what makes Cork, Cork. He said the people. The community is small and tight. We help each other and keep one another in check. Everyone knows everyone or everyone knows someone who knows everyone. He acknowledges that most of the baristas know each other in one way or another.
What is his go to coffee? When in the shop: double espresso with a drop of water or an Americano. When he is at home: filter. He is particularly fond of Ethiopian coffees. Ethiopian coffees tend to have a lovely balance of being a bit citrusy, fruity, and with floral notes. He likes to discover the subtle hidden flavours of the coffee. He definitely recommends filter as a home brew.