When did you first fall in love with coffee?
Growing up, both my parents drank coffee. My dad had different stints of being really into coffee, so much so he bought a small espresso machine with a milk steamer so he could make lattes at home. I really started drinking coffee more often in high school and college, solidified by becoming a regular at the Starbucks that was close to Mizzou’s campus.
Even though I kept drinking coffee, I didn’t get super interested until I had a cup of naturally processed Ethiopian coffee at Comet Coffee in early 2013. There was an amazing bouquet of blueberry in the cup, and I never had anything like it before. I thought there was something added, and the barista very politely insisted there was not. I ditched the darker roasted coffees for the lighter roasted coffees featured at local shops like Comet.
I had an opportunity to dive deeper into coffee after I took a break from restaurant work, in the back of house as well as the front of house. I still wanted to keep doing something in the hospitality world, so it worked out well. I’ve gotten to do a lot of coffee work in the cafe, as well as in a sales role and contributing different content for our blog.
Favorite cafe. Why?
There are a few, haha.
Verve Coffee’s Pacific Avenue cafe in Santa Cruz was one of the first shops I really saw specialty coffee happening on a big scale. Lots of natural light, a sweet light setup hanging from the ceiling and some super tasty drinks!
Intelligentsia’s Logan Square cafe in Chicago is awesome. The layout is fun since you can sit at a counter and have a barista come up to you as if it was a cocktail bar. The interior design is also great; the colors really pop.
Onyx Coffee Lab’s Bentonville location is gorgeous. The coffee bar floats in an island in the middle of the space and is surrounded by a variety of seating options including high bar chairs and sofas. If I lived closer, I’d be there all the time.
Favorite person to drink coffee with?
That is tough. It’s always fun to drink coffee with my coworkers because it’s an opportunity to learn from each other. Whenever we go on sales trips together, Mike Marquard and I are basically drinking coffee together for several days in a row. It’s definitely a learning experience tasting with Mike…we get to try a lot of different roasters, as well as getting to know our beans better.
Most memorable Blueprint experience?
All the sales trips are exciting! I’m really lucky to get to travel for work, so all the trips are fun to go on. Our recent trip to Texas was awesome. We got to visit a lot of fellow passionate coffee peers, ate awesome tacos the whole time and got blessed with the knowledge of Topo Chico.
What’s not fun about your job?
Waking up really early to open the shop and subsequently passing out early that night. Naps are key!
Who inspires you?
My parents & Frank Lloyd Wright.
What are your favorite places in St. Louis?
Oh geez, there’s so many great spots to choose from honestly. It really depends on the situation. I love getting tacos at Taco Circus and Taqueria El Bronco. Pho from Mai Lee is always fantastic. Guerilla Street Food always brings the heat with their Filipino food. Deep dish pizza from Black Thorn Pub is a religious experience. The sandwiches and bread at Union Loafers are both awesome. Cleveland-Heath over in Edwardsville, IL is phenomenal and worth the drive! A concrete at Ted Drewes is always tasty. Dim sum from LuLu’s Seafood on the weekend is amazing. Cocktails from Planter’s House and Taste always hit the spot. I could go on and on…