Mihai is from Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He is 36 years old. He has down syndrome and is working at a social coffee shop that employs people with and without disabilities.

“I work at Cofeels, I make coffee for the customers of this café. I have been working here for a little over three years.

At first, our boss had an interview with me in the winter of 2021. He wanted to recruit people with and without disabilities to work at the café. I think my boss chose me because he wanted a person he could rely on.

My boss Lucian is the person I get along with best. He’s like my older brother, a little funny at times, which I really like. I respect and love him. I really trust him because he knows what to do with me.

I think a good barista needs to have team spirit and respect for their team and themselves. I care about my self-image.”

Mihai standing in front of a coffee machine making a latté.
Mihai making a latté.

“My favorite part of this job is making various kinds of coffee and surprising our customers who step into this café. I like making designs on the coffee, I’m almost the best barista.

Above all, I like to work in a team. Whenever there’s someone at the bar, I immediately start working. I am a good teammate; I like the team spirit. I like to be involved in the life of the café.

I hope this café is successful in the future too and we can expand and create more opportunities. I hope people get to experience the freshly roasted coffee in the future as well.

When things get tough, I keep working. I make coffee, take it to the table, clear and wipe the table, and then take the cup back to its place. When things are tough outside of work, the ones that help me through are my mom and my partner.

This job has changed my life for the better. If I had to choose another job, it would be an office job, so I could get to the café by five and still also work here.

I am happy with who I am now.”

Teun Eijkelboom, Mihael Fitz, Stiina Hekkala, Keti Machavariani, Ilinca Pleș