54 min

Areli Barrera de Grodski of Little Waves Lives in the Meta [129‪]‬ Boss Barista

    • Society & Culture

It’s hard not to picture it, once you hear the name: little waves lapping on the sand. Water rushing in between your toes. The warmth of the sun on your shoulders. An abiding feeling of calm.

Areli Barrera de Grodski came up with the name Little Waves in a text message. She’s the co-owner and founder of the roastery and its accompanying retail locations, Cocoa Cinnamon, in Durham, North Carolina. She’s admittedly shy, someone who describes herself as quiet and reserved, but she relishes moments of awareness and noticing—she describes herself as “being comfortable in the meta.”

When I think of Little Waves, I also think of a number: 230. That’s the number of retail coffee bags the roastery needs to sell every day to keep the doors open. After the novel coronavirus shut down coffee shops across the globe, Areli and her partner, Leon, went immediately into planning and preservation mode. They figured out exactly how much business they needed to do, down to the day, to keep their business going without laying off any employees.

In this conversation, we oscillate between the meta and the concrete. Some of the topics we discuss are straightforward, some are weird and obscure, and most land somewhere in the middle. Just to get a little meta here myself, breaking down assumptions is why I love interviewing people and asking questions—there’s always more behind every story. And in this interview, we do just that: we break down assumptions and learn more behind the story of Little Waves.

You can read a transcription of this interview here. 

It’s hard not to picture it, once you hear the name: little waves lapping on the sand. Water rushing in between your toes. The warmth of the sun on your shoulders. An abiding feeling of calm.

Areli Barrera de Grodski came up with the name Little Waves in a text message. She’s the co-owner and founder of the roastery and its accompanying retail locations, Cocoa Cinnamon, in Durham, North Carolina. She’s admittedly shy, someone who describes herself as quiet and reserved, but she relishes moments of awareness and noticing—she describes herself as “being comfortable in the meta.”

When I think of Little Waves, I also think of a number: 230. That’s the number of retail coffee bags the roastery needs to sell every day to keep the doors open. After the novel coronavirus shut down coffee shops across the globe, Areli and her partner, Leon, went immediately into planning and preservation mode. They figured out exactly how much business they needed to do, down to the day, to keep their business going without laying off any employees.

In this conversation, we oscillate between the meta and the concrete. Some of the topics we discuss are straightforward, some are weird and obscure, and most land somewhere in the middle. Just to get a little meta here myself, breaking down assumptions is why I love interviewing people and asking questions—there’s always more behind every story. And in this interview, we do just that: we break down assumptions and learn more behind the story of Little Waves.

You can read a transcription of this interview here. 

54 min