Now open: Barista Magazine Cafe!

Just kidding. Even if we had the time to take on another project, we sure as heck don’t have any barista skills. Funny story: when Ken and I lived in Seattle, I worked for Zoka doing marketing and Ken was freelance writing and editing full-time. Now, anyone who has ever been a freelancer knows that the inevitable ebb and flow of it can be frustrating. So one day, on a stroll around our lovely Queen Anne neighborhood and down the hill of Dravus Street on our way to Red Mill burgers (BOMB burgers if you’re ever in Seattle), we saw an espresso cart for sale. Feeling fussy about the freelancing gig, Ken mused that maybe he should buy the cart and set up a drive-thru espresso business. To give you the time context, this happened after I was the editor of (and Ken freelanced for) Fresh Cup, and before we started Barista Magazine. So we knew a little — certainly not the breadth we know now — about what it would take to run a business like that. But before it even became something viable to talk about, before we discussed what coffee we would use and what equipment we would buy, I said, “You know, sweetie, if you run a drive-thru you have to get up really early.” And Ken said, “Like, how early?” And I said, “I dunno — 4 a.m. or something.” And he said, “OK, forget it. Let’s go get our burgers.”

And that was that. Moral of the story: Stick to what you’re good at. My dearest friends are baristas and roasters, and they are damn good at what they do. Me and Ken, we like to think we’re pretty good at writing and editing. It certainly doesn’t hurt that we get to sleep til 9 a.m. everyday either.

OK, anyway, so we’re not opening a cafe. But a lot of our friends are. Seems there’s an extra lot of hustle and bustle going on right now actually. Our pals at Intelligentsia in L.A. are getting really close to opening their shop, and our friends from Stumptown are busy busy busy up in Seattle getting their roastery and not one but TWO cafes put together. Let’s not forget Portland peeps Billy Wilson and Kevin Fuller, owners of the famous Albina Press and serious barista competition contenders who are getting very close to opening their second cafe in Portland in the uber hip Hawthorne neighborhood. A few weeks ago, when the contingent was in Portland for a visit, Kevin was happy to show Katie the blueprints for what is guarenteed to be a revolutionary espresso bar.

kevin and katie
The point is, these people are all very well qualified to open new cafes. They have all done it to great success in the past. As for the folks who are starting from scratch, leaving a job in business administration or film-making or cat herding or whatever, to enter the great big wide wonderful world of specialty coffee, we’ve got them covered. We’re at work as I type this on an article about opening drive thrus and kiosks coming up in an issue to be published before the end of the year.
New sort of related topic: My favorite magazine in the whole world is called BUST.

And please keep in mind that between me and Ken, we subscribe to 24 different magazines. I love BUST for the snarkiness, for the design and for the total score in hitting its readership right on the nose (seriously, it’s like this magazine was written for me, and that’s what anyone who starts a magazine dreams of making their readership feel like). In any given issue of BUST, you’ll find profiles of cool celebrities (Lindsay Lohan will so never be invited to BUST), great record reviews, even better book reviews, food writing like how to use leftovers from 4th of July or how to make a meal for your inlaws that makes you look good even though you hate to cook, how to have an awesome wedding without poofiness, tulle, unity candles, and other trappings of traditionals I-dos, crafty DIY stories (the current issue has an article about how to make an iMac cozy), good real journalism writing (women who join convents, women behind bars, etc.), and even a little smut. I dig this mag.

Ken is all about Tegan & Sara these days and I told him there was a review of their new record

The Con

in this new issue of BUST, so he was looking through it (he usually sticks to his political blogs, sports blogs, National Geographics, Harpers and New Yorkers for his elective reading), and he found this little story that quoted people who left corporate jobs to do something that made them happy, a follow-your-bliss kinda thing. And so we thought it would be cool to ask you guys the question, what did you do before you did coffee? Did you want to be a doctor? Were you a lawyer? Did you work in a mailroom? Were you a minister? Stripper? Wild hog? What?

I’ll start: I was a newspaper hack. I reviewed concerts and records. I hated being that close to the reproachable music industry and constantly felt like an outsider (the thing about newspapers is, you don’t ever really want to be friends with the kind of people who work for newspapers, but you never get to know anyone else — especially if you’re a music critic and everyone hates you — either).

Anyway, so what about you?

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