//vol.15-4 Highlights: Youth SPOTs

Never Too Young to Become a Barista


Overcoming setbacks, 17-year-old Peter Choi, a student enrolled in the Federation’s coffee barista training program, has transformed himself into a part-time barista and a more self-assured responsible individual.


From the aroma of freshly brewed coffee beans and tulip pattern in a cup of delicately made coffee latte, you can hardly tell it was made by a 17-year-old student. Two years into the Federation’s coffee barista training program, Peter Choi has transformed into a part-time barista and a more self-assured responsible individual, who knows how to work with as a team

During his interview with Youth Hong Kong, Peter appears with his right arm bandaged, as a result of frequent injuries from rugby games. Though diagnosed with dyslexia learning difficulty at an early stage, he is actively engaged in social activities and team sports. Peter is always on the move. But what led him to pursue the seemingly serene world of coffee-making and latte art?

At a barista workshop organised by the Federation’s Jockey Club Cheung Wah Youth S.P.O.T. in 2021, Peter got to know Victor Cheung and his coffee mentor. Like every beginner in latte art, Peter started off with the simple idea of trying something new. 

“I can’t forget the first time he asked me to recreate the most basic heart-shaped latte art. Because I messed it up,” reflects Peter, admitting he thought about giving up when faced with repeated setbacks in achieving the perfect pattern and taste that he always wanted.

To Peter, the control of density, thickness, or smoothness of milk foam turned out to be the toughest part of coffee-making, as every detail affects the taste and pattern. “But the joy comes from every small improvement,” he adds.


“The joy comes from every small improvement.”


The barista workshop organised in partnership with De La Salle Secondary School NT invited students with Special Educational Needs (SEN). The primary goal is to provide them with foundational knowledge about coffee making and offer a firsthand experience of a genuine work environment within coffee shops.

Over the two years, Scott, who led the coffee workshop as staff, witnessed Peter’s transformation from a boy to a leader. “Peter used to be a shy and timid boy when he first came. But now he is growing up to be someone with a sense of responsibility who can lead a group of people.”

At a pop-up coffee shop event, Peter was appointed as the team leader of their team. Scott was impressed by Peter’s ability to not only embrace the responsibility of running a coffee shop but also to excel in it.

Similarly, Peter himself was surprised to see his ability to deal with challenging situations managing the shop, fulfilling numerous drink orders, and effectively communicating with customers — tasks he had previously doubted he could accomplish. 

One has said, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” Peter is currently honing his advanced latte art skills at a coffee shop in Tai Po, Hong Kong. Looking into the future, he plans to participate in coffee-making competitions and work harder on academic studies. 


The Federation has 22 Youth S.P.O.Ts. These youth centres provide space and opportunity to learn and develop. They focus on Strengthening Classroom Learning, Continuous Learning Opportunities and Experiential Learning in a Societal Context, offering tailor-made programmes in combination with other provided services.