There was one customer who came into GWANGHWAMUN FOURB every day and watched baristas. He just sat there and spent hours writing in his diaries, taking some photos. One day, when everyone got curious about him, he came to the bar and asked: “Can I work here?”
1. You used to be one of our regular customers. What made FOURB attractive?
Before working at FOURB, I had been working as a barista back then, too. But I felt like I was doing something that didn’t have to be me. I was replaceable. I dreamed of a day in which I would become someone indispensable, that’s when I met FOURB. What really seemed nice to me was that all of the baristas were so into their coffee and that they constantly shared thoughts and opinions. As with customers too, baristas were very friendly and opened to casual talk, such as asking what they did on weekends. But when there was a rush, everyone went straight back to his or her position and did their job. That was very impressive. “I have to be one of them,” so I thought. Haha.
2. It’s been 6 months since you started working. Is there any difference from the outside?
When I was a customer, I was always treated well, and everyone looked cool and chill. And I thought I would be like one of them right away I got in. But it turns not. Haha. Now I know all of their caring moves and kindness are based on hard effort. Everyone is very passionate and serious about this job and even cares for the things unseen. I realized getting in is just a start; you must keep trying and moving forward to be a true member of FOURB.
3. You went to middle and high school in Beijing and college in Hongkong. What would you do if it weren’t coffee?
After serving military service, maybe I would have gone back to Hongkong and worked as a hotelier, making use of my major, or kept studying for degrees. A Part-time job that I got after deciding not to go back to Hongkong has brought me far here. Hmm. And I say a travel photographer? Only if I am rich. Haha.
4. I’ve been told your hobby is photography. Why so?
I like a hand film camera. Everything is so fast and easy these days. So I guess a part of my inner self has wanted to do something by my own hands. You have to adjust carefully to take a shot and you cannot check out your picture before it is developed. Looking at the picture that has gone each step through my hands, it feels like the moment when I pushed the shutter is recorded as long as the time needed for development.
5. What is FOURB to you?
Thinking about the bar where I work with other baristas, I feel like it is a coffee club. With people who share interest towards coffee, you get to talk about one another’s daily lives and coffee, and we search for a good café and go there together. That’s what makes me come to FOURB even on my day off. Thinking about customers, on the other hand, this bar is also a stage. You get to show them what you have been thinking and testing as a proper result. That sometimes makes me feel like I am giving a presentation.
6. What is “basic” in your life?
Definitely my happiness and satisfaction. You have to enjoy each and every moment of your life so that the time spent brings good energy back to you. So the basic of my life is to listen to myself for what I want. When you work, you work happily. When you rest, you rest happily. When you do nothing, you do nothing happily. That’s it! If I went for money, I would have not chosen this job.
7. What is your goal?
I want to be a part of FOURB more than now. I was inspired by FOURB baristas when I was a customer, but now I have to be one who can inspire others. I also want to go for a barista competition someday. If I win or not, that would be a priceless experience. Achieving small goals would lead me to a path to a person who proudly calls himself a barista. (How about “a person who is entitled to be called barista for himself” ?)