By An Executive Editor
Journalist, Oscar Cathbut Mumbere, had never imagined brewing coffee as a job. Even when the tough times meant he had to learn some woodwork, it never crossed his mind that one day he would become a barista. However, one phone call changed that for Mumbere.
In this Q and A, he tells Kampala Gazette his journey..
Question: Briefly tell me something about yourself….
Answer: My name is Mumbere Oscar Cathbut, am a news reporter at MediaScape News and Barista at Xuri Art cafe and Gallery.
Question: You are a journalist yet brewing coffee. How do you do it and how do you balance these off?
Answer: Most of my time physically am always brewing coffee at Xuri making cocktails, just like you understand receiving customers and doing service, then again most of my other time online am making interviews for MediaScape News, updating the MediaScapeNews Tweeter handle with breaking stories and that’s how manage to balance them.
Question: Tell me about brewing coffee. When did you even know about coffee? When did you choose to go into brewing? Why coffee brewing? Where did you train from? Who trained you?
Answer: Honestly, I never went to any coffee brewing academy. Even before being a barista I wasn’t this person who was into taking coffee, neither brewing it.
Question: How did you make to the coffee space then?
Answer: All I can say is am a lucky dude. One afternoon I am home, a friend of mine who is barista calls me and tell me Oscar, there’s a job for you in town, come do interviews. And I asked, what job? She told me, there’s a cafe I’m Kyanja, they want a barista, and I think you can take up that job, I told her, I knew nothing about being a barista, that’s not mine. She told me, it’s your lucky day, they have someone who is going to teach you to be one. And just like that, the cafe that taught me how to brew coffee gave me the job after learning. Coffee brewing called me.
Question: So, you were taught while on the job?
Answer:Yes, I had on the job training.
Question: When is this that you started training in coffee brewing?
Answer: It is over a month now when I started working on my own.
Question: How long did it take you to properly learn to do on your own?
Answer: It took me a while. Coffee brewing is an art. You have to learn it to the core, and you have to practice every time to be as perfect as u want. It took a while.
Question: Did you ever think you would become a barista?
Answer: It was way past my mind. Because I had invested in learning how to make furniture during apex of the coronavirus lockdown in the country but it didn’t end well and being a barista, was something I could not even think about at all.
Question: Did you finally fall in love with it. Do you love what you do now?
Answer: Yes. The more I learnt about coffee, the more time I was given to operate the coffee machine the more I loved it. And I realized people love coffee, some even want it customized like wanting exact grams of coffee powder to be brewed and also wanting exact grams of the beverage out. I mean, it’s fun for me. I enjoy every bit of it.
Question: So, which specialty do you brew?
Answer: I do cappuccino, espresso, latte Macchiato, Americano then I do alcoholic drinks and juices too
Question: What lessons have you learnt from brewing coffee?
Answer: I have learnt a lot. From knowing coffee is a real thing and a respected beverage. I’ve learnt, how to operate a coffee machine which I initially didn’t know, I have learnt how to handle impatient and stubborn customers. I have learnt how to interact within a team. But above all I have realized keeping around people who are better than you, makes you become a better version of yourself too, because development is contagious if you welcome it.
Question: What would you tell someone (preferably a young person) out there, whether with a job or not?
Answer:Well, I would tell that young person to focus on doing the right thing, everything has its own time and to always be prepared because the future is for those who prepare now.
Mumbere’s journalism journey begun at Messiah Radio, Kasese where he was doing his internship, working as a news reporter in the field. Later, he met senior journalist Rugyendo Arinaitwe who picked him up to work as a news reporter at MediaScape News. Mumbere will graduate this November with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Communication from Kampala International University – KIU.