Coffee drinking has become something of a trend amongst office workers. But running your own café is a dream for many, to simply walk away from daily and routine office hours. And yes, the coffee shop business is booming as we can see a number of cafés opening up all over the place, especially near to tourist attractions and offices in the form of franchises, standalone cafés or humble kiosks. Having your dream come true is good but chasing the dream down against high competition is another story and that’s why the casualty rate can be quite high and many newcomers to the business fail. Running a café seems easy but actually it requires more than just passion.
In a quiet corner of Saphanhin Public Park stands a small local café known among Phuket’s coffee drinkers and visitors in the know. Pikgo Café has a sense of peace to it with discreet decor and a unique charm with stylish furniture, and colourful arts and crafts. The decor perhaps reflects the personality of the owners, Khun Anuchit Jongrakwittaya or ‘Golf’ and Khun Sutticha Saksritawee or ‘Pik’ who have seen their dedication rewarded and have been in the cafe business for years. While Phuketindex is attracted by the aroma of good coffee, we won’t let this opportunity of getting an interview with them get away.
How come Pikgo Café?
Golf：It started with our affection for coffee. We dreamed about having our own place where we could make our own coffee and to also make other people happy with what we like and enjoy.
How did you get into the coffee business?
Golf：I used to work with coffee dealers. They had training and workshops on a regular basis so I started to learn about coffee from there. It really got me into it until I finally decided to run my own coffee shop.
Pik：For me, I used to have my own café in Patong but we closed it down and started up Pikgo Café instead.
How do you train to become a successful barista?
Pik：I took a training course before I started to do it.
Golf： I also went through some training. But more than that it’s about practicing and doing it repeatedly until I found what I think is ‘right’, I then try to introduce it to our customers.
Please talk a bit about the art of coffee
Golf：For me, I think coffee is a kind of food. When we talk about food it’s similar, I think it requires both art and science to make the best coffee.
In your opinion how can you tell which coffee is good and what is not?
Golf：I think there’s no such thing as bad coffee. It depends on what you like. Mostly we focus on our customers’ preferences. Simply put we make and offer what they like.
Any suggestions for those new to coffee?
Golf：Well, actually there are certain steps to take. If you want to try coffee with a mild taste, you can start with latte. Anyway, each version is made up of different mixtures… less milk or more milk, this will make your coffee as strong or as mild as you want.
How about your favourite?
Golf：I like Americano with nothing added. That’s the real taste of coffee.
Pik：I like latte; not too strong, nor too sweet.
Any words for those who want to become a barista?
Pik：You have to have love and passion for it first and then to learn more about coffee.
Golf：I think service is the key. You can’t just have love or passion to do this successfully you need a service mind and if you don’t have the heart for it you’ll not win the customers’ hearts. Apart from the café, we found that it’s not easy to get close to a barista with a shy character. The barista who speaks from his heart will make you feel a simple happiness just like when you sit down and relax at home with a cup of good coffee.
Golf won the 4th Thailand Indy Barista Championship for Southern Region held on 31st July, 2011 at Jungceylon Patong. From the very beginning of their barista path, these two have never stopped pouring out their passion in their own style for coffee drinkers.
‘Secret Frappe’ is a special recipe that Pikgo Café is proud to present. Will coffee with a hint of ginger be your next favourite or not? Try it yourself!
Pikgo Café is open Monday to Wednesday from 10:00 – 21:00 and Thu – Sun from 09:30 – 21:00 (closed every Tuesday).