Barista Coalition Ready to Party in North Carolina

A group of people stand casually around a coffee bar front counter talking.

Barista Coalition hosts Road to the Other Side, a day-long coffee event.

BY KATRINA YENTCH
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE

Photos courtesy of The Barista Coalition, Johnathan Elyea, and Hannah Schroter

After debuting the community group The Barista Coalition virtually in August 2020, founder LaChrista McArthur is ready to meet the North Carolina coffee community in person. Road to the Other Side is a three-part event that takes place on August 1 at 5 p.m. in Charlotte at Not Just Coffee on Jay Street, and includes all the elements of a coffee gathering that we know and love.

The Coffee Crawl

It’s no secret that despite North Carolina’s humble size, the state is filled with some of the best coffee shops in the country. Road to the Other Side will get off to a caffeinated start by inviting attendees to “coffee crawl” their way through several booths hosted by local coffee shops. Some businesses ready to serve up samples of their best offerings include Black & White, Sayso, Café Rowan, Hex Roasters, The Hobbyist, and LaChristas own Hello Love.

The Throwdown

You’ve been pouring into paper cups the past year. Now it’s time to show others how it actually made your pour skills way better with this latte art throwdown, sponsored by Oatly. Barista Coalition’s competition is going classic dairy for a portion of this event, but competitors can expect to pour flawless alternative milk designs as the game continues. This way, everybody new and veteran can be a part of the fun. To participate, simply donate any dollar amount of your choice, which will go into the “pot” of prize money for the winner.

Real Talk

Road to the Other Side is a day to have fun and grow community bonds, but it is also a chance to “get to the other side” of a tough time in history. Barista Coalition’s event will conclude with a discussion to better understand what the fourth wave of coffee is. They’ll also talk about growing the North Carolina coffee community.

“I see fourth-wave coffee being solely about sustainability, and that primarily reflects the livelihood of the very people working in coffee,” explains LaChrista. “With third wave, we put emphasis on the science and study of coffee and the cup, and now we need to shift to the people of coffee. Are they making enough to survive? Is the work environment conducive for every individual in coffee? Things of that nature.”

Goodies

Regardless of whether you’re competing in the throwdown or not, there will be plenty of goods and swag from sponsors Red Rooster Coffee, Oatly, Barista Magazine, Mocca Master, and Baratza. Drop by for prizes like retail coffee bags, merch, coffee gear, and more.

Three people stand together smiling and staring at a group not in the picture. They are in front of an espresso machine.
The Barista Coalition is ready to gear up and expand to a website, events, and more.

Barista Coalition Has More Underway …

Barista Coalition’s return to North Carolina (LaChrista technically debuted it virtually while in Cambridge, England) symbolizes a love for the coffee community that LaChrista has long possessed: “It’s the community baby barista me grew up in,” she says. “The people I found myself around are some of the kindest and creative people I know. The N.C. coffee community where many of the voices encouraged me to step out and follow my dreams in coffee and in my creative life. … This event is me saying thank you and I love you to the NC coffee community, and a way to express a sense of pride in the strength that is the coffee community here. We survived this past year and we are truly on the other side, and we’ve learned so much in the past year.”

In addition to LaChrista’s pop-up concept Hello Love, expect to find more events from Barista Coalition in the fall, plus a website that will host chapters for other cities whose baristas are looking to connect again after a difficult year.

About Katrina Yentch 221 Articles
Katrina Yentch (she/her) is a freelance writer and Barista Magazine's Online Editor. When she's not writing, you can find her napping, cooking, and drinking whatever's on drip.