I had a conversation with a customer the other day that resonated with me. This customer is a bartender and has bounds of energy every time I see him. He’s constantly cheerful, even at 7 am and genuinely loves people. He identified himself as an extrovert and said that when he’s down, he goes out to a coffee shop and soaks in the company of people. After an hour of this, he leaves with more energy than when he arrived. Read More
At the time of writing this, I am 27 minutes away from my Twitter-peer-imposed writing deadline. It’s been a weirdly emotional 24 hours for me. I know a number of people struggle in their 20s and I know that life-stress can be difficult to manage.
A few months ago, a close friend was diagnosed with depression and for the 2nd time in my life, I had to figure out how to respond. Do I tiptoe around her? Do I check in everyday? I still don’t know the answer, but I try and listen/answer to every call and email.
Last night, I found out that a different friend was denied long-term disability, even though she has medical proof of suffering from PTSD. At the same time, I also discovered the fact that she had PTSD for the last six months. We had only been intermittently in touch. This dear woman was one of my biggest cheerleaders when I was deciding whether or not to leave a job I hated. Her PTSD has been a result of recently recalled sexual assault and medical trauma. She has since moved back to Indiana with her parents, but is still seeking help in paying her medical bills. Please consider making a small donation. *If you donate at least $20, I will personally come to your office [in Chicago] at a scheduled time and make you a cup of coffee. Anything more or less is still deeply appreciated.* Read More
In less than two weeks, I will be ending my stint as a barista and returning to “coffee enthusiast” status. Many events have occurred to bring about this difficult decision, but nothing more so as to my realization of how much my interest in coffee has changed. Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE coffee, but I loved it more when I was outside the retail world. The day-to-day operation of a shop may just not be for me at the moment. Perhaps in ten years, if I’m settled down, I’ll say differently. During my nine months, I gradually stopped visiting shops, reading up on coffee material, and altogether lost interest in coffee. In truth, the thing I’ll miss the most is having the Synesso at my fingertips. Read More
Word around The Windy City is that Stumptown is opening up a shop here (see edit below). But hey, maybe it’s just the gossip blowing around (I know, I know, bad pun, my apologies). The roaster has already taken its home, Portland, by storm, plus nearby Seattle. And last fall, it infiltrated New York City through the high-end Ace Hotel. What’s next? Hopefully, somewhere in the Midwest?
Earlier this week at work, I had just emerged from the back room, carrying a load of clean dishes, when I spotted the distinctive bag of beans (their exclusive espresso blend, “Hairbender”) and a fancy schmancy jar of their Anniversary Blend. Obviously (they’re based in Portland), I excitedly went, “Ooh! Where did these come from? I wasn’t able to taste Hairbender when I went there!” My co-worker discreetly nudged me, did a head-jab towards two men sitting at the bar, and whispered, “They’re here. That’s the owner.”
And that’s when I did a double take. “Duane?!” I had to ask, just to make sure I heard her right. Apparently, he visits us when he’s in Chicago and bears gifts. He and another Stumptown employee chatted with the cafe owners for a few minutes while sipping our espresso (which wasn’t tasting so hot that day) and then took off. But the exchange got me wondering. The infamous Duane Sorenson was in our shop… was he possibly wooing us? He’d probably say that he doesn’t woo, he just gets what he wants.
But Stumptown in Chicago will definitely heat up the competition here even more. Can’t wait to see what happens.
Whoops, I forgot to add on my notes of their Anniversary Blend.
I haven’t worked with a register for about a year now. And the one I worked with was at my local Wag n’ Wash, a self-service dog wash and organic/gourmet pet supply store. I baked dog biscuits all day. Human grade dog biscuits. Which meant that the fruit muffins I made were suitable for humans (only good when they’re halfway through to hardening).
Anyway. The register. This thing has a touch screen, an admirably sensitive touch screen with all the drink and cookie and bread orders you can think of. There are also two drawers so two people can man the register and still be held accountable for the amount in their drawer. Read More
Four weeks on the search for an open barista position in some of Chicago’s north side’s best shops, I finally landed into a shop.
My interview went something like this:
[Owner] It’s obvious that you have an interest in coffee.
[Me] *twitching from nervousness and the coffee the barista just gave me* Yes, I really want to learn about the retail side of the business. I want to open up my own shop someday, but I want to learn as much about coffee as possible before I do that.
[Owner] The only problem I can see here with this job is that you live in Naperville. Are you planning on moving to the area or communting? It’s a long way to travel for a cafe job.
[Me] I’m completely aware of the commute. I most definitely plan on moving into the area. In fact, I’m looking at apartments this weekend.