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Reinhardt Bester grew up drinking coffee. He remembers drinking it as a kid and likened the experience to how the French drink wine.

You could say he was destined to become a barista, but he is not just qualified in the art of making a good cuppa, he has a whole lot more to offer than that.

Bester was recently appointed as a tutor for the retail & cafe skills level 2 training programme at Training For You on Ingestre St.

He recognises the need for formal training, especially where coffee is concerned.

“There are so many places out there that are making coffee, but staff haven’t actually had proper training,” Bester said.

“People pay for something and they should be getting value for their money, there’s a level of expectation.”

Bester is originally from South Africa, he moved to New Zealand when he was eight and later went to Palmerston North Boys’ High School.

From there, he studied a Bachelor of Resource and Environmental Planning at Massey University of New Zealand, but a scholarship changed all of that.

Bester received the scholarship from the Six Star Charitable Trust and found himself training in tourism and hospitality management at Queenstown Resort College.

“Studying at QRC was an introduction to world cultures, because of the diversity of the students there,” he said.

“There were a huge number of international students, plus it’s a holiday destination, there are people from all walks of life in Queenstown.”

While at QRC, Bester gained work experience at Hotel St Moritz which helped to bring him out of his shell.

“It was a good introduction to life skills, how to talk to people, how to interact, manners, having pride in yourself and your appearance,” Bester said.

“There’s nothing like actually being put out there. That was where I gained most experience.”

After graduating from QRC with his diploma, Bester returned to Palmerston North where he worked at the Copthorne Hotel, before switching career paths to real estate and then sales.

However, that love for coffee, food and all things hospitality remained and eventually Bester opened the Nibbley Pig Cafe in Woodville.

Bester had four successful years with his cafe and it was rated as the best in Woodville on the Trip Advisor website.

It was during this time that Bester realised he could pass his skills and knowledge on to others, so the Nibbley Pig Cafe got involved in the student Gateway programme.

“I saw a need in the community for other people to get an opportunity to learn practical stuff and for getting first-hand experience, not just in a classroom environment,” Bester said.

“Most of them had never been into a café like that before, or dealt with people in that way, it was a matter of getting their confidence built up and helping them to believe they could do it.”

His toughest task now is teaching non-coffee drinking students how to make a decent cup of coffee.

“It’s a challenge to teach someone to make good coffee if they don’t drink coffee themselves,” Bester said.

“You shouldn’t be afraid to try what you’ve made and know what you’re serving, it’s the same as being a chef, they need to know what they are serving up.”

Source: Whanganui Chronicle

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