Photo by Aaron Meliza
Caption: Justin Denewith, drummer for Chris King & The Gutterballs provides a caffeine fix for anyone in dice need of a pick-me-up. “I can pour a pretty good latte,” he says through a smirk.
By Adelia Sindunata
It was a cold, cloudy afternoon, but that didn’t stop students from lining up in front of a little window at the 2200 building, patiently waiting for their coffee before heading to class. Behind the window, a blonde guy with man-bun and beard was busy brewing a cup of macchiato.
Meet Justin Denewith, the barista of “The Little Spot” behind your dose of caffeine.
Denewith, a California-raised dude, never went through professional coffee-making classes. Instead, he he learned how to brew coffee from his cousin, who worked as a barista “at a super fancy coffee shop.” Aside from being a barista, he is also a drummer in a band called “Chris King and the Gutterballs.”
“I decided to work as a barista because I needed money to support my rock-and-roll music group,” said Denewith, laughing. “(Being a) barista is a job that is convenient, fun, and has flexible (working) time, so it is the perfect job for me.”
Most customers go there before or after class: some are regular customers and a few order the same thing every time. According to Denewith, he’s been pretty good at memorizing his customers’ favorite beverages.
“When they come, I don’t even need to ask them what they want to buy, except if they have a different preference that day,” Denewith said.
Vianca Mandalica is one of Denewith’s frequent customers and said she has bought coffee from The Little Spot once a week before heading to her math class.
“He is the type of barista who is really chill, but sometimes he sprinkles small jokes into all his conversations.” Mandalica said.
Whenever Mandalica stops by, she always orders something different. She has sipped almost every coffee on the menu. She thinks the coffee at the PUB café is better, but one coffee she ordered from Denewith was really outstanding.
“One day, I realized that I haven’t ordered Breve before, so I bought it, and it was damn good,” Mandalica said. “Probably it’s the best coffee in the little coffee spot.”
Another regular, Ferandi Yennas, goes there at least twice a week. Unlike Mandalica, he frequently orders the same two items: a Vanilla Latte with Almond Milk or a Soy Caramel Macchiato. Out of all the drinks he’s ordered from Denewith, Yennas likes the Soy Caramel Macchiato the best.
“I really like the combination of macchiato and soy milk. I like it better than if it was made of regular milk,” Yennas said.
Denewith said there are only a few times when he has had to face annoying customers, which he defined as “people who are rude and cannot be nice when ordering their coffee.”
“All baristas, including me, have to say ‘Have a good day!’ to our customers every time they finished their payments,” Denewith said. “However, if the customer is being rude to me, I will still do that, but with a sarcastic tone and smile.”
For most baristas the challenges involve not getting burned, getting an order right or dealing with difficult customers. Denewith, who has to show up everyday at 7 a.m., said his main challenge is different.
Denewith said: “My biggest challenge? Being alive for the first hour.”