Barista sisters are doing it for their customers
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Barista sisters are doing it for their customers

The people of Parramatta have spoken and voted Martina Dokoza, the barista at Parramatta’s Perfect Mouthful, the best female barista in Sydney.

When the Sun-Herald asked last month for nominations for our city’s best barista, oddly all the nominees were men. So we put out another call, this time specifically for female baristas, and a large number of readers nominated Ms Dokoza. Her café is in Phillip Street in Parramatta across the road from the Deaf Society.

 Martina Dokoza, owner of The Perfect Mouthful in Parramatta, has been nominated as Sydney's best female barista.

Martina Dokoza, owner of The Perfect Mouthful in Parramatta, has been nominated as Sydney's best female barista.

Photo: Wolter Peeters

The huge volume of people who recommended Ms Dokoza commended her not just for her coffee, but for her manner with her deaf customers. Ms Dokoza, who worked for Chiswick and Aria before running her own café, is three weeks into a sign language course so she can better communicate with her deaf customers.

“I do love to make coffee for people because it makes them happy,” she said. “I don’t do coffee art but I do put ‘extra love’ into each cup, which is the thing I think that makes each serving special.”

The bulk of her clients say she is always friendly, always has a smile on her face and really knows her coffee.

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Martina Dokoza, owner of The Perfect Mouthful in Parramatta.

Martina Dokoza, owner of The Perfect Mouthful in Parramatta.

Photo: Wolter Peeters

Other nominations for best female barista came from across the suburbs and from a variety of cafes, including the “not terribly trendy or fashionable coffee shop of Bankstown RSL”, where a young Vietnamese woman called Vy serves coffee as good as her “infectious giggle”, and West’s Leagues Club in Ashfield, where Wendy was nominated by the local Toastmasters club.

In the north there was Karen French of the Wooden Whisk at St Leonards and Anna Paling (or AP as she’s known in the café) from Dose Café in Willoughby, and a special mention for the nameless female barista at Pure Brew opposite Gordon Station who produced what one reader called “soul warming skim flat whites decorated with a picture of a kookaburra”.

In the east, Kanya Sawaddee of the Organic bread bar in South Dowling Street Paddington, Amanda, at the Garden Cafe in Charing Cross, Waverley and Anju Adhikari from Tucker cafe in Randwick were nominees.

Not all nominations were within “the latte line”, the imaginary boundary that splits Sydney down class and economic lines, running from the airport north-west through Parramatta. Zoe from the Local Trade in Kellyville was outside that boundary, and even as far south as Ulladulla, Madalane Thurston from Craft was lauded by locals for her coffee making skills.

Sarah Halwagy, a barista for over 10 years, who gave up her cafe in Chippendale called the Marlo Bar where she created the 'Mochatella' (a Nutella mocha), got special mention for her services training many of our city’s best baristas at Coffee Galleria.

Fortuner Murolo, at Putney’s Black Toque Patisserie, is “always cheerful, works hard, makes great coffee, remembers names, remembers preferences and has a smile for everyone,” says client Tony Loader who calls her a national treasure. Penny at Jellyfish Manly Beach sees her regulars coming and they “barely sit down before a fabulous coffee is at the table”. “Great coffee, fabulous staff, plus Sunday papers and Manly Beach…. who could ask for anything more,” says one loyal customer.