What or who was it that ignited your interest in the coffee industry? What fuels your passion for coffee? I would love to hear your thoughts, and stories!

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I started reading on places like answer.com about just how to make foldgers or SO starbucks taste better in a drip machine. I upgraded the machine to a $200 unit that didn't reheat the coffee (used a vacpot to drip into) and would pull about 185 degrees.

Through even more searches I found something called a french press on this site called "Coffee Kid." And I was given a fp for Christmas and that was IT from there. I was ON FIRE!
Uncommon Grounds coffeehouse on Church Street in Burlington VT. I lived there from '98 to '03, and used to go a couple of times a week for coffee, capps, and beans. They roasted in the front of the store, and the aroma from the street got me every time. Once you brew fresh, there's just no going back... and that's what drives me today.
ethiopia harar

Rita Kaminsky said:
ethiopia harar
i drank coffee to stay awake in college. folgers in a tiny drip machine. over time i got introduced to better stuff. bad ass coffee was the first to introduce me to decent stuff. then i bought a french press and a grinder. then i discovered some good local roasters, but i still hadn't really hit the REALLY good stuff.

then i got my degree and started waiting tables. that turned into bartending. i enjoyed the craft of mixing and making drinks, but it really wasn't my scene. so i decided to look into coffee. that was a good call.

i was introduced to what is probably the highest quality specialty coffee roasted localy here in alabama, primavera coffee roasters, got a job as a barista and now i'm about a week from working full time in coffee.

and like rita said. ethiopian harar. but my first "wow!" moment was actually ethiopian kafa natural. mmmmm.
After Trevor and Rita, I want to amend: Like Rita and Trevor, the very first good coffee I had was an Ethiopian. It was a Yirg but nonetheless it was an eye opener. After reading a ton on coffeekid.com and coffeegeek.com I chose to try Intelligenstia for my first good coffee experience.

Trevor said:
and like rita said. ethiopian harar. but my first "wow!" moment was actually ethiopian kafa natural. mmmmm.
Hey Shilo! What a huge question. I would also love to hear your first introduction to coffee. My first coffee job was with Starbucks. I was eighteen and really wanted to work in pike place market. Turned in a resume, before resumes were a requirement and my focal point in the resume of why Bucks should hire me was "My desire to connect with the customer and not the dollar" I wrote a 100 word intro on how and why it is best to focus on people as community and not commodity. At the time they were not hiring, but two weeks later I got a call from a women who hired me at the west lake center area store and I covered the 4:30-10 AM shift. It was the only job I have ever been fired from, to make a long story short. (Transportation issues, I had an old Datsun pickup-five speed that only had three speeds working. Hard to drive around a city with missing the low gears). I tried to learn the bus system and failed. Scary really, not cut out for it. I then opened up a landscaping business for about two years while dabbling here and there in coffee at a shop called Wells Street Espresso in Renton WA. Married by 21 I was whisked off to my dream job in Kodiak Alaska as a commercial fisherperson or Seaman as we are most commonly called. I worked on a 56 foot vessels. We fished the four species of salmon and finished the season with longline halibut. Two summers of that was enough for me. With some of the booty we collected fishing the open waters I opened up a cafe in the lobby of a .com just before they all dot.bombed. The building went from 86% occupied to less then 5%. I served an average of 6-12 regulars and 1-20 walkins depending on the events at the hotel close by. Plugging away for about a year I learned the ups and downs by experience. Someone should right a book about how to make money when you don't have any cuz it was the toughest year I ever faced. In 2002 my husband and I found out we were expecting a blessing from above and I sold my business. With less then 40 weeks till B-Day, it was time to start a new business. For the next 7 months I would was a sub-contractor to my pappa's maintenance company. My partner and I painted and steam cleaned carpets. In the middle of all that I was approached by my roaster, Caffe D'arte's Joe Mancuso. Joey had become a good friend and he presented a trainer position to me that sounded amazing. I was five months pregnant at the time and honestly told him, "the job sounds perfect, but I've never had a baby before and would absolutely hate to waste your time should I choose to stay home and not come back to work." Joe was extremely understanding. He said, "Hey call me in two days, two months or two years. We will have a place for you here." 9 months after Noah was born I went back to work part time with D'arte. I love service, and serving is more rewarding to me then words can describe. Caffe D'arte was the opportunity to really get a relationship between the customer and the cup. It was a unique situation for me to really fine tune my passion, hobby/craft in a very competitive market. I made the store MY store. Within 9 months to a year I was given the honor and task of managing the store and really that's where I learned the most. Communicating with employees, owners, the office, scheduling, time management, marketing all those things and more. The cafe became my new classroom and I evolved so much there. Next was the continued evolution in the roaster which is trainer- my favorite job so far! I took a short leave of six months to have our second son Jude, and returned to a sales position at D'arte. This is a challenging and incredibly fun market place to have coffee in. Working in the Mecca, if you will of some of the best roasters in the world! My respect for Vita, Vivace, Stumptown, Lighthouse, 49th, Seven and so many more independent coffee roasters is amazing. The pace of sales is different then training but I know I am up for this phase of growth in my life. This market is fun and incredibly challenging....so enough bout me, how did you get started?
My first introduction to coffee was in a couple local coffee shops when I was about 12-13. Some friends and I would meet up before school on Friday mornings with our youth group leader. I tried various espresso beverages, and fell in love! The idea of becoming a barista and the art of conversation became a goal to me. I knew that was going to be my first job. In highschool I was hired onto a local coffee chain's staff. I loved it. The only downside was there so much inconsistancy from barista to barista. Long story short, I ended up training for that chain. Years passed, I worked as a trainer/ manager for the owner I work for currently, I was young (still am!) and had so much to learn. How you phrase what you want to happen durring training or even durring a drop in session can entirely effect the outcome. I did not know how to motivate people, I learned asking rather than telling can go a long way. Nine years later I still have so much to learn. The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. It fuels my passion for the industry, and for become a well rounded trainer. I currently hold the position of directer of training/ operations for Forza Coffee Company. I love the people interaction I am able to have as a trainer. I have been given so much freedom to do what I love and pass it all on! I love coffee, the art, the science; and the passion I can fuel in someone training with me for a couple of sessions. This career is so rewarding. It's growing in so many ways, and there is always something new to learn. I work with a company that encourages that! I am so blessed!

Sarah Dooley said:
Hey Shilo! What a huge question. I would also love to hear your first introduction to coffee.
mmm! Ethiopian! Love that cup!

Trevor said:

Rita Kaminsky said:
ethiopia harar
I wasn't really into coffee until I started working at an espresso cart in January, but I immediately loved the job. In March, my boss told me about the WRBC in Berkeley, and I thought it sounded awesome, so I went on Saturday to check it out. Had my first real capp on the Fourth Machine and I swear to god my eyes must have bulged out of my head. Needless to say I was back on BART on Sunday to watch the finals. That weekend did it, I was totally hooked. I love coffee, and I love being dedicated to something and being able to take real pride in my work. Looking forward to CoffeeFest Seattle!
My background is Industrial and New product design. I thought that the design of the various makers and machines was enjoyable. I then began collecting them. Then i got a LaPeppina and was introduced to H-B and other forums. I quickly learned to like really good and properly served coffee. I drive 65 miles for a good cuppa and use the two great coffee houses in the Twin Cities to gauge my taster. Now I have way too much equipment, roast my own beans and brew whatever, with whichever, whenever, I please.

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