Alex Werth has been a member of the Blueprint Coffee team for almost two years. Alex started at Delmar, but transitioned to the Watson location when it opened in July 2018 to serve as the coffee lead. Alex is competing in the SCA Barista Competition circuit for the first time this year.
How has working at the Watson location been so far?
Busy, unsurprisingly, but a lot of fun. We are in a much more compact space at Watson – everything and everyone is so much closer. We have a very open space with the garage doors and end up surrounded by our patrons on three sides. The neighborhood has such a different feel, and we get so many people who live within a mile.
What is your favorite thing about creating new drinks for the menu?
I would have to say that it’s the actual research and development of the drink. The process of actually figuring out how to make a flavor in a way that is repeatable and fast is really challenging, but rewarding when you get it right.
What’s the wildest signature beverage idea you’ve ever come up with?
Attempting to create coffee jelly – I first encountered coffee jelly when I traveled to Bangkok with my best friend. We got it from a street vendor, but it actually comes from Japan by way of England. It was made with instant coffee granules that hadn’t fully dissolved…it didn’t taste very good, but it was 103 degrees outside and we didn’t care because it was cold and sweet.
But that idea of changing the form of coffee while figuring out a way to deliver a high quality product has stuck ith me, and I try making a batch every once in a while. Maybe I’ll get it right one of these days and we’ll put it on the menu.
What are you most passionate about outside of coffee?
Magic the Gathering or reading. Magic the Gathering is an old trading card game that I’ve played since I was 10. It plays like a weird mix of chess and poker, blending skill with luck, and it gives me a competitive outlet that I don’t get outside of playing sports. I still get to play about once a week, but used to be a lot more hardcore – I traveled all over the Midwest and played almost every day. Recently, I’ve been getting back into photography and that’s been a lot of fun as well.
What’s your order when you go out for coffee?
Espresso Tonic. It’s the drink that got me into coffee, and I always get it if it’s on the menu and I haven’t had it from the place before. After that it’s usually a cortado or a black coffee – iced for either if it’s super hot. I can’t do the hot coffee when it’s 100 degrees outside.
How can a café impact the community it serves?
My favorite cafés always seem to be microcosms of the community. A café is a place for its neighborhood, from a kid who wants a hot chocolate to the mother who wants a single-origin black coffee, we are trying to serve both their needs. Providing a space that allows people to get what they need out of it, be it a place to study, to get work done, to hang out… the individual’s needs are quite varied, and a successful café fulfills many of them, and the best ones make it look effortless.