On Baristas

Admit it. It feels good when you've entered into "a regular" status at your local coffeehouse. You don't even need to order, because they've already made it for you before you've paid. A little slice of celebrity just for you. For those of you who don't know this joy, start coming by daily. You'll soon see why our customers have become such creatures of habit. It’s comforting to know that on your way to work or school in the morning, there's someone out there who knows your name, your kids' ages and the struggles or joys you've been experiencing lately. Who makes this happen? Enter the Barista.

What does barista mean?

We know that most people probably know what a barista does. But did you know that “barista” is Italian, meaning "Bartender"? And as morning bartenders, baristas are the confidant away from home. They tend to function essentially the same as their night owl counterparts, serving caffeinated drinks rather than alcoholic ones. While the original baristas would do both, in the US it's a term that refers to the operators of the espresso machine.

Baristas in the Community

Baristas play an important role in our communities. If you speak, they'll listen. If you mumble, they'll give you more coffee to wake you up. If you are having a bad day, they'll likely give you a drink on the house. If you're sad, they'll try to cheer you up. In effect, they're chameleons that adapt to any and all customer needs any given day. After a while they stop being a barista and simply become a friend.

After being a barista myself for 7 years, I cannot tell you the amount of connections, friendships and effectively family I've gained. I remember when certain customers kids were born, and I've been able to see them grow up. I've walked through tragedy and celebrations with customers. I've shot the breeze, and I've delved into deep, controversial topics. I can't remember the names of some people I went to college with, but I can remember at least 100 "usual" orders, plus the names and faces that go with them.

The Artisans

One of the coolest things about being a barista is taking complete ownership over the craft. Baristas are the stewards of generations of coffee culture, and the innovators of artisan espresso drinks. In today's world there's something sacred and endangered about mentorship-based jobs and careers. There's just something about learning and perfecting a craft. As a novice barista, it can be overwhelming to drink from the firehose that is coffee science and art. As a veteran, it feels amazing and humbling to take someone under your wing and show them the ropes. It's a skill and love that is used all over the country and world.

Conclusion

At the end of the day the barista is there to make coffee. Sometimes it is just that. Sometimes they will take your order, make your drink and you'll be on your way. For many people, it's much more than that. Keep coming back, daily if you can, because what most veteran baristas crave is the relationships, connections and impact on their local community. And we'd wager that most customers feel the same. If you haven't heard from us it lately, just know that we genuinely love our customers and community. It's because of you all that we can do what we do. And to our baristas, you're the reason people keep coming back. Keep slinging milk.

Fist-bumping regulars since 2015,
Michael