Coffee Insurrection Hero: Chapter #5 Łukasz Gałęcki
1- Introduce yourself: who are you, where are you from, where do you work and what’s your job.
I’m Łukasz Gałęcki, I live in Warsaw, Poland. Since 3,5 years I work in Cophi Solutions as a Head Barista and Trainer. I also have the honour to be the Polish Ambassador of Alpro and Field Expert of Comandante.
2- When and why did coffee become important to you?
Around 5 years ago I started to follow European Coffee Trip created by my friends Ales and Radek and got the idea to write a few cafe guides in the cities I was planning to visit. While meeting inspiring coffee people I got completely hooked and had to try the work behind the bar and since then it became my daily drive!
3- Do you remember the first coffee you had that was more than “just a cup of coffee”?
It would have to be an Ethiopian pour over made by now my friend Nihan, the owner of Rispetto Coffee in Ankara, Turkey. She put some much passion and heart into brewing. I could see how she glows why the coffee bloomed and we could start to feel the sweet aroma. All the issues, frustrations of the day suddenly disappeared and we could just enjoy the moment.
4- What’s your favorite thing about going to work in the morning?
Making peoples day. I really feel like on a mission to brighten my guests’ mood and give them a bit of liquid sunshine. I also really love the fact that no day is the same. It might seem like routine work from the other side but if you do it right, it really isn’t!
5- What’s your favorite brewing method and why?
I love to experiment with brewing methods and gather/collect equipment. But if I would have to choose I would be making the decision between a 3-cup chemex and a V60. First one since I really love the ritual and aesthetic of brewing in a chemex and how it makes every coffee taste good. And V60 because it’s my universal way of quality check of beans and roasts. It exposed the truth about them and I can really know what’s going on.
6- Which is the best coffee you ever tasted?
I always struggle with this question since it’s like asking which of your kids do you love more. The best one is the one I choose to enjoy. And I think that’s the best attitude since coffee is organic and alive and you will probably never be able to drink the same cup again.
7- Is there a country of origin that you tend to favor coffee from? Why?
I love to flirt with a lot of origins but I tend to always come back to Colombia. I chose beans from this origin for my first Brewers Cup and kept choosing subconsciously beans from this country again and again. I love the complexity of Colombian beans and how the farmers care for the coffee and processing. I’m also very pleased to see way less of the colonial past in Colombia and more ethical and fair conditions for the amazing people who work on the farms.
8- Suggest us a roastery to check (not the one you working at/you use at work).
Blend - a tiny roastery from a smalltown in Poland called Pszenno. It’s the only roastery from which I’ve never had bad coffee. The owner and roaster is a complete coffee lover. He puts so much passion and skills into his coffee. https://www.palarniablend.pl
Shokunin Coffee Collective - a beautiful project owned by the youngest coffee professional I’ve met few years ago. Jelle completely impressed me with his coffee knowledge and his educational sets blew my mind. Everyone was shocked when I chose him to roast coffee for my performance at Brewers Cup but I’ve never regretted it. Jelle created a beautiful coffee for me and shared all the knowledge about it with me. https://shokunin.coffee
Dear Judges - a project of my great friend and coffee sensei AST Janina Łaszkiewicz. She roasts competition grade coffees and brings them to people. While getting her beans you also get access to edutainment nights - online meetings when you can meet coffee producers and champions who competed with these amazing coffees. https://www.instagram.com/dearjudges.coffee/
9- What’s the most important things you’ve learnt while working in the business?
The good thing - coffee brings people together even in the hardest times. Especially now in the hectic pandemic times, coffee became a hobby or moment of “back to normal” for a lot of people and that’s amazing.
The bad thing - not everyone is fair and there are rotten fruit also in the coffee community. I also got to know about the colonial past of coffee and I’m still quite upset I personally can’t do more to increase the live standard of the people working on some plantations in the world.
10- How your work and the specialty coffee world are coping with Covid and the new challenges for hospitality?
It’s definitely a constant “crisis management” situation. Especially in Poland when we can’t really get at all prepared for the new restrictions and changes. However it is a great ongoing test for our creativity and team spirit and so far I’m happy to report that Cophi Solutions passes this test very well. We didn't close for a single day since the beginning of pandemic. In the hardest, darkest days we took orders from guests via a walkie-talkie to avoid any direct contact with guests. It's been a rollercoaster yet we still hope that the worst is behind us and we look with great hope and optimism to the future.
11- How do you the specialty coffee scene in 10 years?
I’d love to see it way more tolerant, accessible and educational. With a focus not only on the most quality product but also sustainability and caring for the planet. Without extra boxes for coffee bags, plastic lids for cups and extra waste in cafes. Way more a friendly lifestyle than snobby hobby.
12- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Working in coffee for sure. In the same role? For sure not however I think I will always have some connection to the bar. Fortunately the world of coffee is truly the world of endless possibilities and things you can do, skills you can gain. I would for sure love to understand coffee and the supply chain better and have more local or maybe even global influence on it.
13- Any last word? Any tip or suggestion you wanna share with someone that want to start this path?
Don’t get down thinking that work with coffee is just a temporary job for students. It’s one of the most graceful and fortunately still artisan industries. You can truly feel the passion around you and connect with so many amazing people. Just open your eyes wide and let yourself get immersed.