Nenad Urosevic, Head Barista at La Serre Boulangerie, has one passion in life (besides his wife) and that is coffee. You will notice when you meet a great Barista, you feel a peculiar sense of calm, which is not usually associated with such a hectic industry and this is because Baristas have the most coveted attribute, which is patience.
“Seek fresh coffee from independent coffee shops and avoid mass-produced coffee.”
Coffee beans go through a long journey which can take months (and sometimes up to a year) from farm to cup, Nenad has already been involved with most of the process. His story with coffee started when he was a baby. Coffee is an important cultural practice in Serbia, and it’s common for mothers to add a pinch of coffee powder to baby milk, known as “white coffee” and this is where Nenad’s journey with coffee began. In Serbia, Nenad worked as a barista by day and as a bartender by night, gaining experience and acquiring extensive knowledge with all varieties of coffee. Progressing to roasting coffee at his family’s coffee shop who were importing green coffee beans from Turkey at the time, roasting them in-house. After hearing about the UAE’s ever-evolving coffee scene, Nenad decided to leave his country to further his knowledge and gain valuable international experience in Dubai. Since living in Dubai, Nenad is constantly training, learning new techniques. Now he is preparing himself for the upcoming 8th National UAE Barista Championship in November. We sat down with Nenad (over a coffee of course) and picked his Barista brain on having the best coffee in town.
How long have you been in the industry? I have been working as a Barista for around 10 years now, 3 of those years have been at La Serre where I have evolved as a Barista so much.
What makes your coffee different? To be able to create a good coffee is just like chemistry, you must have extensive knowledge of the product and a perfected technique, when these elements come together, you’re basically creating a chemical reaction. You shouldn’t burn the coffee yet it must be brewed enough. However, saying that, if you want the best quality coffee everything starts with the coffee beans.
Coffee Beans? What kind of coffee beans are we talking about? We work with BOON coffee, an organic brand from Ethiopia. The beans we are using are 100% Arabica. There are two kinds of beans; Arabica and Robusta beans. Both have their own characteristics, however, we prefer Arabica because they come from a high altitude which makes the beans fresher, more dense and delicious.
Sounds great! What about the blend? We have 2 different blends at La Serre. BOON’s “Full and Wild” and our very own “La Serre Blend”. We use “Full and Wild” for coffees mixed with milk (latte, cappuccino etc), using the right temperature for milk because although the coffee is intense, you don’t want the milk to overpower the taste of the coffee. BOON Coffee produce the “La Serre Blend” especially for us. It is comprised of organic and handpicked 100% Arabica beans, it’s a well-balanced coffee, used only for coffee without milk, such as espresso and americano. Having two different blends provides our guests with a nicely balanced taste either in a latte or double espresso.
How fresh are the coffee beans you use? We only grind coffee when we receive an order from the guest, then the process starts. If we are not satisfied with that cup or we believe something might be wrong, we don’t serve that cup. We prepare a new one for our guests.
What if guests want the same great coffee at home. Any suggestions? Always avoid commercialised brands. They are not fresh and contain mostly artificial ingredients. If you are a coffee enthusiast you will want it as fresh as possible. When you have coffee, enjoy the experience, once you have acquired the taste for fresh coffee, you’ll never go back. Anyone can have fresh coffee at home, all you need is an affordable grinder and grind the portion which you require. Don’t opt for a pre-grinded package.
What about brewing a very good quality coffee at home? You don’t even need to buy a machine. All you need is a grinder and a French press. Just boil drinking water (not tap water). Wait for a while because you don’t want to pour 100 degrees boiling water into your press. Otherwise you will burn all the taste. Then pour it into the press and wait at least 4 minutes. Press gently and voila! You’re good to go. Enjoy your coffee guys!
Can guests buy BOON coffee as a retail item to use at home? Yes, of course. At La Serre we have the ‘Full and Wild” blend available in either 250g or 1kg (depending on how much coffee you drink). The La Serre Blend is exclusive to us, therefore not available for retail. You can also find a wider selection at BOON Coffee in JLT. You can follow Nenad (@nenadinho018), La Serre (@laserredubai), and Boon coffee (@booncoffee) on Instagram or check our Facebook and Twitter for more coffee updates.