WBC Countdown: Barista Champion of Greece Thanasis Nikolis


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Barista Mag:  Before coffee, did you work in a different job or industry, or what did you study in school?

Thanasis:  I have studied Business Administration in Touristic Management.  I believe that my studies help me to evaluate better situations that might appear in this industry and I have general knowledge in management…even in stress management.

BMag:  How did you get started in coffee?

Thanasis:  I started to work when I was studying in order to help my parents with my school fees.

BMag:  What was your first amazing experience with coffee?

Thanasis:  It was the first time that I saw coffee being roasted, and then being evaluated by cupping protocol, and after some days, being the person to prepare it in our espresso machine. It was something that connected me with coffee even more.


BMag:  Who has been your greatest influence in coffee? Why?

Thanasis:  It was my first employer (Menelaos Koulouris) who was in love with coffee and hired me in his Third Wave coffee shop.

BMag:  What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?

Thanasis:  I would like to see more consumers get interested in speciality coffee and learn about what makes it so unique.

BMag:  Name a coffee luminary (famous person) you would like to meet, and why:

Thanasis:  There are too many and I really do not want to just say only one person. I hope to meet all of them in the future and have the chance to drink a cup of coffee with each one of them!

BMag:  Name a barista you admire, and why:

Thanasis:  Fabrizio Sención Ramí ­rez because from the moment you meet him you understand that he really loves coffee and has the knowledge that a barista should have about the coffee he is representing.

BMag:  Do you have a favorite customer? If so, tell us about him or her.

Thanasis:  We have a customer, George Tsogis, who from the first day he visited us, wanted to learn more and more things about coffee. This guy is a home-barista that really appreciates specialty and we trained him through our Training Sessions that we train our employees in order to educate him more and more. So, this year he participated in the Hellenic Cup Tasting championship among 22 real baristas and cuppers and he reached the semi-finals of the competition, placing 5th. We were so proud of him cause he was an everyday customer of different coffee shops and his love of coffee made him one of the best cuppers in our country.

BMag:  Besides your own cafe, what cafe do you think everyone should visit?

Thanasis:  The specialty market in Athens is getting bigger and there are now lots of places that someone can visit. Contact our National Body (SCAE Hellas) before you come to Greece, and for sure you can have all the information that you need to make a coffee crawl in Athens.

BMag:  Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?

Thanasis:  I am planning to visit Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, to understand their culture and learn about the coffee. I love Ethiopian coffees.

BMag:  What are your interests outside of coffee?

Thanasis:  I like sports very much. I used to play basketball for many years and of course I love the sea and all water sports.

BMag:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Thanasis:  For sure I will be involved in the coffee industry of my country. I feel that I am part of a coffee family that is bonded and my goal is to be part of it for the future. Where exactly I will be, I think you have to come visit me after 5 years to find it out.

BMag:  Is there anyone you would like to thank or who helped you prepare for the WBC?

Thanasis:  Competing in the WBC 2013 and representing my country is an honor and a goal that makes me proud to achieved it.  Firstly, I would like to thank Mira Gerantonaki and Tasos Delichristos, two people who believed in me and in my potential and supported me in the last two years not only in order to compete but mostly how to be a better person and a better barista at the same time.  Secondly, all my co-workers at Tailor Made for rolling hard through a really busy period working with dignity and pride. I am very proud of them and I want to thank them one by one for putting in so much work and so many hours listening, keeping me around, giving feedback, even dishwashing when needed.  To conclude I would like to thank my family and especially my sister for giving so much and being there whenever I needed her.


About Sarah 932 Articles
Sarah Allen (she/her) is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.