115 episodes

Ashley Rodriguez talks to folks about gender, race, sex, and other important issues in coffee. We invite people from all realms of the coffee world to share stories and engage in discussion - we want to hear from you! Contact us at bossbaristapodcast@gmail.com

Boss Barista Boss Barista

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.3, 60 Ratings

Ashley Rodriguez talks to folks about gender, race, sex, and other important issues in coffee. We invite people from all realms of the coffee world to share stories and engage in discussion - we want to hear from you! Contact us at bossbaristapodcast@gmail.com

    Roundup #15 — Navigating Leadership with Andrea Allen [112]

    Roundup #15 — Navigating Leadership with Andrea Allen [112]

    Andrea Allen won the 2020 United States Barista Championship in February of 2020. Two weeks later, thousands of coffee shops and restaurants across the U.S. were closed because of COVID-19. 

    Andrea is the co-owner of Onyx Coffee Lab in Northern Arkansas, and has been navigating what it means to be a responsible business owner during coronavirus—the answer isn't always clear, and it's certainly not the same for everyone. In this episode, Andrea talks about what it means to be the reigning champion and a business owner during this time. Her stories and struggles aren't meant to be prescriptive, but rather a chance to explore what leadership means when you don't know what's coming next. This isn't necessarily a neat or congratulatory episode—rather, it's a challenge to redefine what we expect from our industry. 

    • 27 min
    Roundup #14 — Opening a Coffeeshop During a Crisis with Geetu Vailoor [111]

    Roundup #14 — Opening a Coffeeshop During a Crisis with Geetu Vailoor [111]

    I met Geetu Vailoor, owner of Union Coffee in Seattle, just a few weeks before the coronavirus would change all of our lives. 

    We talked a lot about employment - things employers do to support others, things they do to hurt their staff, and we were incredibly in alignment with a lot of ideas. Like, if this person were to be my boss, I feel like they’d...get it. I left that conversation feeling very aligned with Geetu’s values.

    As you’ll hear in this episode, Geetu took over Union Coffee just days before shelter-in-place orders were put in effect in cities across the nation. So what do you do? And how do you pivot when you’ve barely had your doors open? Pivot from what, exactly?

    Photo by Angie Garza

    • 23 min
    Roundup #13 — Adam JacksonBey on Tipping During a Crisis [110]

    Roundup #13 — Adam JacksonBey on Tipping During a Crisis [110]

    On the day I'm writing this—it's April 20, 2020, coffee shops and restaurants across the nation have been closed or altered their operations in some way. Millions of people have been laid off, and many of the folks who have lost their jobs are service workers—baristas, waitstaff, bartenders—many of whom rely on tips as a source of their income.

    In this episode, I'm talking to Adam JacksonBey, the coffee pro behind GoFundBean. GoFundBean is a collection of virtual tip jars that serves as a nexus for people who want to help baristas who are out of work. That dollar that you’d usually tip for a coffee? You can go to GoFundBean and give it directly to one of the thousands of baristas who can’t work right now.

    In this conversation, we talk a lot about GoFundBean and how necessary it is because so many service professionals make a huge chunk of their earnings in tips. But we also talk a lot about tipping in general. As Adam will talk about in this episode, GoFundBean isn't necessarily an effort one wants to be successful. It's one that has to be successful in order to keep people fed, help them pay their rent, but in an ideal world, tips—and the precarious nature of tipping in general—wouldn't be part of the service industry model. There's a lot of literature on the history of tipping, which we touch upon briefly in this episode, so you might want to give that a google search before you dive in, but if you're ready, I hope you leave this conversation with a framework to imagine a world without tipping—and what that could mean for the way we value and pay service workers. Here's Adam.

    • 30 min
    Sahra Nguyen on Vietnamese Coffee and Redefining the Meaning of Specialty [109]

    Sahra Nguyen on Vietnamese Coffee and Redefining the Meaning of Specialty [109]

    Take a minute to think, “what does specialty coffee mean to you?” If you work in coffee, it might mean one thing, if you don’t work in coffee, it might mean another. The word “specialty” implies something unique, different, something that makes it different than just regular coffee, right? For something to be a specialty item, something else that’s decidedly NOT specialty has to exist.

    Today, we’re going to break down what specialty is—and what makes a thing special—with Sahra Nguyen, founder of Nguyen Coffee Supply in Brooklyn, New York. Sahra was a filmmaker and owned a restaurant in New York, and often found herself in coffee shops that had some of the “signals” of specialty coffee. Coffees from a single origin, for example. She’d see coffees from Ethiopia, Honduras, Indonesia, and wonder, what about Vietnam? Sahra is Vietnamese and would see restaurants and cafes advertise Vietnamese Iced Coffee, but oftentimes found that people didn’t use coffee from Vietnam in their drinks.

    As she questioned this—why would a coffee drink claiming to be from Vietnam not have coffee grown in Vietnam in it—she encountered some of the questions we have about specialty. Vietnam is the second-largest producer of coffee, and the first largest producer of robusta coffee, so why couldn’t she order a coffee from Vietnam in her local cafe?

    Coffees from Vietnam don’t get talked about in the specialty market. You don’t see them winning barista competitions, and you likely can’t order them at most cafes. But if you’ve had instant coffee, Folgers, any sort of diner coffee—you’ve had Vietnamese coffee. So what is it? Why isn’t it talked about in the specialty world? In this episode, we explore what it means for a product to be considered specialty and ask, is specialty inherent, or is it created?

    • 53 min
    Roundup #12 — Talking Social Media with Umeko Motoyoshi [108]

    Roundup #12 — Talking Social Media with Umeko Motoyoshi [108]

    Just a note, this episode does talk coronavirus or COVID-19, so if you don’t want to hear about that, you should skip this episode.

    So much of our lives have moved to the internet. Because many of us are at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus—and many of the businesses that we love have been shut down—we’re interacting online more. We’re creating virtual coffee shops, hosting happy hours on Instagram, buying coffee from our local cafes through their web stores.

    Obviously, not everything has gone digital—a lot of things can’t—but it’s incredible to see the way that folks have been able to harness their online platforms to shift the way they do business or to interact with their colleagues and customers. And the way people communicate their shifting platforms and needs is through social media.

    My guest today is Umeko Motoyoshi—Umeko has been on the show before, back in 2018. Umeko is a coffee writer, educator, and owns a webstore where they sell cupping spoons and other coffee tools, including a book called, The @wastingcoffee Guide To Not Waisting Coffee. And Umeko is great at social media—really great. They’ve built a brand and a voice that's authentic and accessible and communicates clearly what their platform is all about. Umeko is currently working with clients to help increase their social media presence during these changing times, and in this episode, we talk about how you can implement some quick and easy new systems to become more visible online—while still remaining true to yourself and using a voice that feels authentic and real. Here’s Umeko.

    Cover photo by Noah Goodman. 

    • 24 min
    Angela Ferrara On Taking The Barista League Home [107]

    Angela Ferrara On Taking The Barista League Home [107]

    One of the best times I’ve ever had in my coffee career was at an event where I played a coffee-version of Family Feud. I was on a team with former guests Alicia Adams and Erica Escalante, and we played this silly game on stage with folks cheering us on and having a good time.

    Thinking about community events for an industry is an interesting challenge. Balancing the tone between useful and educational and fun and exciting is difficult, and it’s no surprise that the team at the Barista League thinks a lot about putting on a dynamic event that touches on both ends of the spectrum. The Barista League is a series of coffee competitions, usually a handful a year, that travel across the globe and provides enriching, community-driven events that are fun for everyone. If you go to a Barista League party, it can feel wonderfully chaotic and loose, which can hide just how much work goes into an event feeling effortlessly fun.

    My guest today is Angela Ferrara, one of the folks who puts together Barista League events. Although these are coffee-specific events, the ideas that Angela touches on are universal to any industry looking to create tools for their community. In this episode, Angela talks about how she got involved in the Barista League - she was a competitor herself - and how that transformed into a role putting on some of the most interesting events in coffee.

    It’s also strangely serendipitous that we recorded during the current global pandemic because the Barista League puts on events - which necessitate people gathering in places. But just last week, The Barista League announced that they would move to a digital competition—Angela has more details on this but it shows the power of their organization—and their ability to adapt and respond to the needs of a community in real-time. Here’s Angela:

    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
60 Ratings

60 Ratings

sparkiebee ,

Cofre Industry Community 💞💞💞

Learning so much, feeling so connected to a community of baristas I didn’t even know existed! LOVE

kirsten dubya ,

So Important to the Coffee Industry!

Boss Barista is doing such important work addressing the human issues in coffee by highlighting marginalized voices, the pricing crisis, and how we can make our industry better for everyone. If you care *at all* about coffee and coffee people, listen to this podcast!

mca_mike ,

Beyond Coffee

A resolute and passionate podcast that provides insights applicable beyond the coffee industry.

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