I’ll start my personal coffee journey way back where my Great-Great Grandfather used to work on a coffee farm in Oaxaca, MX. I’m sure I was listening to coffee stories as a fetus! The other side of my family is predominately Italian… you know how we Italians feel about our coffee. Suffice it to say… I did enjoy the colorful conversations about who knew more about coffee. By about the age of 5, I was plenty old enough in my family’s eyes to partake in a morning cup with them…
Who would have guessed that not quite 20 years later, I found myself looking for supplemental income & walked right into my first barista position? Immediately I fell in love with coffee and everything about it. I enjoyed it so much, that I took several trips to origin, including traveling to Sumatra, Sulawesi, even visiting a small little plantation in Thailand to name a few. I actually lived across the street from a plantation and would tour the visitor center just to get a glimpse of the processing in action. I felt a sense of social responsibility to teach people about this little bean that travels so far from many lands. I wanted others to connect what they enjoyed in that latte or cappuccino with the farmer who may possibly be on the opposite side of the world. I wanted others to know that this delicious beverage was so impactful to the livelihood of coffee farmers. I aspired to teach my customers and co-workers the dedication and love that is put into that produce so that we might enjoy it.
So not far into this journey, I decided to put my college education to good use and pursue a career in managing the café where I worked. It took no time at all for me to be managing my own café & become a training coordinator for this company. I began facilitating classes, developed training programs, & was certified as a Manager/Coach/Mentor. I was invited to participate in a Barista Jam with Billy Wilson (USBC Finalist 2004-2006, Regional Latte Art Champion 2005) and lectures from barista great Sheri Johns (WBC, USBC, TEA & COFFEE World Cup/Judge & Coordinator) & Danny Johns (2002-2003 NABC/USBC Coordinator, MC, International BC). Through it all I was insistent that my staff and customers felt a connection to origin.
Then in 2007, my family moved to Santa Cruz, CA & the first cup of coffee I had was in one of Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Co.’s retail locations. I was so impressed by the quality, the dedication to Fair Trade & Organic certification, but above all, the coffee was AMAZING.
Lucky for me, there was a position open to which I applied and Viola! I arrived at my current coffee destination. I’ve had the honor of managing one of our retail locations as well as our wholesale clients, & the opportunity of working with a knowledgeable group of people who are tirelessly dedicated to pursuing quality coffee & developing relationships with farmers. I have been able to work alongside the General Manager, Sarah Albuquerque, who is also passionate about sharing her knowledge with our staff and consumers. Together, we’ve had the privilege of facilitating Cupping 101 (an Intro to cupping coffee) and Sarah has just launched a Brewing Fundamentals Class. I sincerely hope our dedication and effort will be met enthusiastically by all who are interested in getting to know their beans.