Honor. Integrity. Diversity.
Over the years, coffee has taught me a great deal. As I've been preparing for my upcoming barista competition, I've contemplated specifically what coffee competitions have taught me about myself, the live I live, and the world I live in.
A barista competition is composed of three courses. Espresso, cappuccino, and a signature beverage. Each one is unique and, in their own right, very important to the overall coffee experience. As I've spend time with each course it became clear to me that each one has carried with it some really good insight to life.
Espresso & Honor: To truly think about coffees supply chain is unbelievably amazing. There are thousands of hours and hundreds of people that impact the exact nuance of each coffee we get to taste every day. To me, espresso is the rawest expression of these people's work.
I know in my life, there are hundreds of people who have contributed thousands of hours to me becoming who I am. I hope to honor people like my parents and mentors through living my life to it's fullest potential. Living a good life is not just about me, but also honoring those before me.
In a similar way, making an incredible espresso is an expression of honor to those who have come before us. It's not simply about making espresso great for a guest, but respecting and honoring those who come before us. For us to live a life full of honor means that we are aware of those in our past and allowing it to impact how we live in the present.
Cappuccinos & Integrity: Integrity, as we all know, is doing the right thing when no one is looking. I know for me, cappuccinos and milk drinks open the door to fudge from time to time behind the bar. When adding milk, it's easier to hide a bad shot. For the sake of good latte art, it's tempting to sacrifice good milk temperatures and overall quality.
The reality is, making Cappuccinos with integrity is important. These drinks are often people's first introduction to specality coffee. I believe many people have missed their opportunity to engage in a great coffee journey because some have chosen to make these drinks without integrity.
Similar to when making milk beverages in a cafe, I believe the places that are easiest ignore integrity, are often the most important. To leave integrity out of our relationships and lifestyles will not only impact ourselves, but can greatly impact the journey of others. May it be that our lives, lived with integrity, positively impact the stories and journeys of those surrounding us.
Signature Bevs & Diversity: It's natural for most humans to gather around people who are similar to themselves. Interests, status, and beliefs are often at the center of these segregations.
What has been so beautiful about the coffee industry is how people from across spectrum of beliefs and ideas all gather around this drink. I know for me, working at a coffee shop exposes me to many people who I otherwise wouldn't be around. It's divinely and diversely beautiful.
Making and sharing great signature beverages give us opportunities to engage coffee in many ways we would't otherwise. Those who are stuck to a specific way of thinking about coffee can be exposed to something else beautiful by enjoying a signature beverage. I hope by serving diverse drinks in my cafe, it lends to diverse engagement with different people, beliefs, and coffee.