On her favorite coffee memory, Reneé described a picturesque scene in Vienna. “My favorite places were seating in incredibly old cafes in Vienna watching the servers run back and forth, sipping on rich lattes with the fullest of fat milk and sampling dark chocolate tarts. It just transforms you. It makes you part of that cultural history of great art and music.”
This magical scene, of culture and community, is one she hopes to invoke in her own cafe.
New Orleans has a long history of cafe culture – one that I confess I’m not entirely familiar with. Despite this, I find a sense of community and acceptance here. Perhaps it’s the history. Perhaps it’s the decaying buildings. Or perhaps it’s the passion of coffee people like Renee who are driving change in the city.
“We lounge here in New Orleans in an expert manner,” Reneé tells me.
This is true. In my six days there, I felt like I had the richest of foods paired with the least amount of physical exertion.
“We are about the experience, not just the taste, which has led us on a long trajectory to find specialty coffee. It makes it not just a science of the best dialed in coffees, but a real experience of tasting and enjoying.” A stroll in New Orleans will bring you to street-side brass bands and colorful facades. There is no doubt that the environment influenced the food culture.
It takes a certain skill & character set to own a business, let alone a service-oriented one. What happens when work lends itself to repetition and exhaustion?
Reneé names two sources of inspiration that keep her going:
- Regulars. “When a customer walks in not knowing anything about us or me them, and them leaving with a little more understanding of our shop and me hearing a little piece about their lives. I love hearing people’s stories.”
- Palate development. “I love challenging myself with other foods and drinks, then bringing that knowledge back to the shop when I’m dialing in. It’s surprisingly, extremely satisfying.”
“Boss Coffee Pros” is a portrait/interview series where I share the stories of inspirational people in the specialty coffee industry. You can follow along on Instagram with the hashtag #BossCoffeePros. This was originally a series of “Boss Ladies of Coffee” and I’ve since decided to expand it to include queer, gender-nonconforming, and/or people of color. The ultimate goal is to shine a light on a more diverse set of leaders, innovators, and pros who are getting sh*t done in their work and life.