company - education - coffee

Monday, August 14, 2006

Homeless Barista...

I came to Simon's by way of luck really. It was close to my apartment and I needed something to fill the extra hours. I was working another job full time and took it on part time because it was right in front of my house. After a few months I was working @ Simon's full time. Somewhere along there I got the bug. Pouring through sites like coffeegeek and blogs like Tacy's. I really owe Mark Prince a lot for that site. It gave me a lot of information once you sort through the noise. It is the ultimate resource for the beginner. Tacy too has been a large influence on a lot of us. His snarky opinions and rants are often more true than not. His willingness to challenge things most people consider sacred... well maybe I got a little bit of that in me too... Sometimes it took me longer than I'd like to admit to find out how right he often was.

I want to thank Nick Cho and Michelle Campbell and the people who do the competitions and the BGA. I really defer to those who put the highlight on those who really care about their craft. Nick, who I thought might be a bit of a joker for hanging out with people like Jay :) it turns out is a pretty decent guy whether he knows it or not. The revered Cho.. hehe, why not? If it weren't for those competitions, I wouldn't be blogging about all the details that fire me up. I wouldn't be trying to create other passionate barista. I wouldn't have the voice I have today. It was those competitions where I really found some friends. Ben and Asim supported me and fired me up to 'go get kicked around in the competitions... because this is part growing pains... and because this is the path I have chosen so it's sooner or later.' They both stuck by me when I was getting little help from anyone else. Ben's words in particular were a piece of foreshadowing. It was at that time I found out simply put who my friends were. Ben is still what I consider to be my strongest supporter and I don't over look that or underappreciate it. My friends Judson and Silas, my conscience and my palate. Hong, my support and my foundation. I feel lucky in so many ways. The people I have worked with, Simon, Andy, Colleen, Dragana, Maric, Denez, Alexis, Kristin, Brett, and Jin. It's been cool knowing each and every one of them and I picked up somethng from all of them.
There is one more though. Peter Lynagh of Terroir. He had a great influence on my initial development in coffee. His influence is a big part of why I can't enjoy muddy coffee and crave clarity from my coffee. We may be at odds at times personally but I will always fall on his side of the fence when it comes to green quality. I appreciate that in many ways I can't express to him. Sometimes you have to have some distance to get perspective on things though.

I really feel like I have been a part of something special these last two years. A journey of growth and self realization in many ways. Simon's has been a place where I really felt appreciated by customers. I could name a couple dozen people, but I really appreciate so many of them. I will miss the espresso drinkers the most. Especially the ones who have been with me since the tastings way back when. You know who you are. The people I see everyday who challenge me to keep going, pour it left handed, and challenge me to come up with effective descriptors for a new espresso. The people who tipped me well for pulling a good shot, gave me sox tickets, or just said 'Jaime has high standards'. The people who complimented me for my latte art and my passion. For everyone who told me thank you or complimented me, I say thank you.

It's been one wild ride in Cambridge, MA. I enjoyed it on my side of the counter and hope everyone enjoyed it on the other. I guess this is leading to something quite obvious at this point. I gave Simon my notice the other day. Another three weeks at the most linear coffee shop in Boston and I'm just a memory. Stop in and say hi, get a double espresso and catch up. Wow. It's been a lot of fun and I will miss it.

Watch the blog for news. Judson, Silas, Hong, and I are planning some things with the support of Ben and Asim. I am looking forward to regional competitions and to meeting up with RichW, ChrisO, AndrewB, the Revered Cho... and getting a chance to bring my friends to this event to absorb the atmosphere and meet their peers. Maybe sometime I will finally see JasonH in a competition, and who knows what is yet to come. It's all wide open from here and I am anxiously looking forward.