Made to Perfection by Tomoca Coffee Africa’s Barista – Charles Hillary Indakwa

Kindly explain who or what is a Barista? 

A Barista is a person who is professionally trained in the preparation and serving of coffee.  At Tomoca, we believe a Barista is the pertinent link between the coffee and the customer because we take the time to enlighten our customers on the various roast-types of coffee, the various coffee grinding methods as well as the ideal coffee and pastry to have in line with customer-lifestyle preferences.



  1. How does one qualify to become a Barista and how long does it take to acquire the skills? (This question related to No.1)

In order to be specialized as a Barista, one must be trained by an experienced Barista Trainer at a certified Barista Training school that provides the Barista curriculum.


  1. Is there a demand for Baristas and if so, why?

The demand for Baristas is high because there is a surge in coffee cafes which in turn requires professional Baristas to brew coffee which is essentially a craft in itself.



  1. Are there sufficient Barista Training centres in Kenya and how long is the course?

In Kenya, there are several renowned Barista Training Centers.  The course runs for 1 – 2 months depending on the type of Training Centre and type of course i.e. Intermediate, Advanced or Professional.


  1. What advice can you give someone who would like to take up Barista as a career? (What does it take and what special skills should someone have)

My advice would be to invest in a comprehensive training, not just as a Barista but in coffee in general – the process from seed to cup.  Strive to be a great communicator and build your network.  At Tomoca, we believe that Coffee brings people together and we must therefore strive to give the ultimate Tomoca Coffee experience in our service-product offering.



  1. Give us a brief history of Ethiopian Coffee

History has it that in the 9th century, a native herdsman named Kaldi, noticed one of his goats acting abnormally after eating the berries of a certain shrub. Kaldi then conferred with the local Abbot about the frolicsome behavior of his goat. This peeved the interest of the Abbot and this practice grew from the monastery, to the community and finally to a global level.  This chain – tower of dreamers, of achievement is the premise on what Tomoca is based on. The passion of dreamers to disrupt the status quo in the same way the spirited goat did, is shared with Tomoca. As a company we direct our own path and lead where others will follow.


  1. Can you explain the steps of how coffee comes from the Farm to the Cup?

The story of how coffee becomes what we drink is very interesting. It starts from the nursery beds – the coffee trees are transferred to plantations where they are cultivated and taken care of for at least 3 to 4 years, until they bear fruits/cherries. When the cherries ripen (red in color), they are harvested by handpicking them and then being taken to coffee mills where they are sorted, washed/dried, graded and packaged.  Lastly the coffee is then taken to coffee exchange – auctions where different stakeholders select the best coffees and buy them in green beans for production i.e. coffee shops where the coffee is roasted, ground and then brewed in different methods like Espresso, Hand brews and cold brews.



  1. How many different varieties of coffees are served at TOMOCA and how would you advise a customer on what to select from your menu

Tomoca is well-renowned for its three signature drinks i.e. the Machiatto, the Cravate and the Sprice which are a must have for the authentic Tomoca experience.  However, in order to cater for the current market, our menu provides an ample range of coffee, pastry and Panini options.  We advise customers on their selection based on:

  • their personal preferences – some customers prefer to have their coffee sweet, we therefore provide options for flavors – hazelnut, caramel or vanilla which give that extra oomph to the taste buds.
  • their health preferences – some customers are lactose intolerant, gluten intolerant, diabetic, we therefore put all these into consideration when preparing and serving our coffee, pastry and paninis.
  • Their palate – some customers love their coffee strong (double) while others prefer a milder option with more or less milk



  1. What is the best way for someone to make, serve and enjoy TOMOCA coffee at home? (Type of equipment, Quantity, brewing time etc.)


For whole coffee beans, grind before brewing to experience the wholesome aroma and freshness of the coffee.  Always use warm-fresh filtered water, non-boiling.  For a delightful cup of coffee, use 10g or two tablespoons of ground coffee for 180ml of water.


The best way to brew Tomoca coffee is as below:

  • For an Espresso machine, use finely ground coffee
  • For a drip-coffee maker, use medium ground coffee
  • For an Ethiopian Jebena or a French press, use coarse ground coffee



If you do not have the above equipment and will use a cooking pan, first boil the water, switch-off the gas and let the water cool for a minute (94°C – 96°C ).  Scoop your coffee and mix it in the water at least 7 grams a cup (250-300ml), cover the cooking pan for at least two minutes and then stir and sieve slowly. Do not boil the coffee or use boiling water, otherwise your coffee will taste burnt.


The beauty about Tomoca is that we can grind the roasted coffee (light, medium or dark roast) to the preferred grind type i.e. fine, medium or coarse, onsite while you have your cup of coffee.



About Charles Hillary Indakwa – Barista at Tomoca Coffee Kenya Ltd

Charles is a professional Specialty Coffee Association certified Barista with ten years of experience.  My passion for coffee was on the onset and in my early work-experiences, I would stay behind after my work-shift to learn more about coffee preparation.  I love working with Tomoca and appreciate the quality controls in place that ensure the perfect cup of coffee is brewed in line with customer preferences.  The team is fantastic and we always strive to work together to make positive changes and impacts to the customer experience.



Throughout my career, my passion for the craft and the love of coffee has helped me become an award-winning Latte artist, Espresso Extraction specialist and an exceptional coffee brewer. Before a typical busy work-shift, I charge myself with our signature dark Macchiato. Other than being a Lead Barista, I am also a Barista coach who loves to share my passion and skills with ardent coffee-brewing students.


Phone number: +254110097919

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