1990-1994 Espresso Royale Cafe, East Lansing, Michigan: barista, shift supervisor
1994-1995 Coffee Exchange, West Bloomfield, Birmingham, and Royal Oak, Michigan: store and general manager
1995-1996 Starbucks, Portland, Oregon: store manager
1997-2007 The Fresh Pot, Portland, Oregon: co-owner and founder
2008-current Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Portland, Oregon
What’s your favorite part about working in coffee?
Knowing we’re all intertwined in a global economy/phenomenon that touches so many lives. Being a part of something so much bigger than any one person. Also, aside from the altruistic part, the amazing people I’ve met in this incredible industry and the deep relationships and friendships I’ve formed.
Where do you ideally see yourself in 10 years?
SEMI-RETIRED and splitting my time between cushy consulting gigs and living on a sustainable micro farm in Southern Oregon.
Who and what inspires you?
Positive, passionate, driven people, the type that have and can overcome adversity inspire me. Also, knowledge and the people that impart it.
What are you drinking right now?
Jasmine green tea! Busted! Also, I’m currently enjoying our Colombia El Jordan, sparkling, balanced, and delightful.
Crazy/memorable coffee experience you’d like to share?
Tie between a source trip to Colombia a few years back, and my trip to Florence this summer with my daughter to see the La Marzocco factory.
Colombia opened my eyes to the real heart of the coffee industry, the growers, and their families. It connected the dots, illuminated the global impact of the coffee industry, and also the arduous labor required to grow, pick, and process coffee to the highest possible standard. It was exciting, scary, invigorating, and overwhelming. I rode a horse, picked coffee, ate bizarre innards, and was almost pick pocketed by a village leper.
Traveling to the La Marzocco factory in Florence with my daughter and spending the day with Piero Bambi will always hold a special place in my heart. It was a trip that I didn’t want to come home from. The food, the people, architecture, and landscape of Italy were intoxicating.
What do you do when you’re not doing coffee?
Get crushed by my daughter in UNO and Sorry, hike, shoot hoops and guns (not at the same time).
Sarah Allen (she/her) is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.