Being a barista is the dream of many young people, but for the 27-year-old Benny, it was once an unattainable dream.
Benny, who was confirmed to have retinitis pigmentosa at the age of 10, had his eyesight degraded from 70% to less than 10% in the past 17 years, and the world has changed from color to only light and shadow. “I used to be very unhappy. I didn’t even have the ability to pour a glass of water. I would pour a glass of water.” From being frustrated to accepting slowly, Benny met a group of visually impaired friends and learned from them. Many life skills. In August last year, through the Hong Kong Association for the Blind, participated in the visually impaired barista training program jointly organized by the Peninsula Youth Chamber of Commerce and Coffee Pro, trained as a professional barista, and was hired by the LEX cafe in Belcher’s Street, Western District. The only visually impaired barista in the shop.
Pouring milk, frothing, filling… simple movements, but Benny takes more time than ordinary people to practice. Invisible, how to make coffee? “You must listen to the sound when making coffee, use your voice to control and feel the temperature of the milk, and use your voice to listen to how much foam you make.” Benny said, losing her eyesight makes her sense of touch and taste sharper than before. When making coffee, she controls the temperature. There is no problem with taste and taste, but when it comes to garland, he was tested. “I tried to pull out a heart shape, the shapes are all 50% similar, but I still can’t get used to how to pull the flowers.”
Although his eyesight is worse than that of people, Benny does the same to wash dishes, clean, and deliver meals just like other employees. Can do all the work, relying on a class of good colleagues. “I can’t place orders for the guests. I can only write down the food and drinks ordered by the guests, and then ask my colleagues to help me. Fortunately, my colleagues are very willing to help.” The only difference is that there is a “visually impaired barista” hanging on Benny’s chest. “” brand name for identification. Cafe manager Mimi said that Benny is cheerful and positive. Even if he lacks eyesight, his ability is no different from other colleagues. The addition of a visually impaired colleague can improve the cooperation of all colleagues. “When there are a lot of people, Benny himself will be more careful, and colleagues will remind him by the side, tell him that the food should be delivered there, and remind him to walk slowly.”
Raymond, the head of Coffee Pro at the Barista Training Center, said that he hesitated when he was invited to start a training course for visually impaired baristas and made a lot of preparations. Later, it was discovered that the extra equipment hindered their learning progress, so you just need to treat them as ordinary students and add more reminders. Raymond even discovered the advantages of making coffee for the visually impaired. “In terms of temperature control, they use their hands to feel the temperature, and the temperature of each cup of coffee brewed is very consistent. What is even more surprising is that their taste sensitivity is even better than that of coffee tasters.” After this successful experience , Raymond will start classes again this year, hoping to cultivate more visually impaired baristas.