The way we come into contact with people through the specialty coffee industry is wild and wonderful: you can reach out to almost anyone armed with only your passion for coffee, and a certain trust is immediate. That’s the way I felt when Christina Furr emailed me for the first time last year.
She was young and coffee crazed, an experienced barista who had fallen so hard for coffee that she started her own blog to track it, to write and photograph it and the people behind it. Specifically, Christina sought to chronicle the rise of specialty coffee in Texas, and she appropriately called the blog Cup of Texas.
“A few of my favorite cups (stories) so far have been my barista stories,” she wrote on the blog of how it began. “I get to talk with the baristas who make your morning cup every day and ask them questions about the job and their lives. The baristas I interview are gracious enough to take time out to sit for their portrait in front of my Yashica 120mm film camera. I am grateful to be able to talk with all kinds of people in this field and love sharing in their passion for coffee.”
I first met Christina when she asked if she could write about the Barista Nation Texas event last fall for Barista Magazine. She expressed such enthusiasm and verve in her message that I knew she would throw herself into it; and she did. You can see for yourself in the article.
I was delighted last April when I was paired with Christina in the judges’ workshop for the first Latte Art Exhibition: when she came up to introduce herself, I threw my arms around her in thanks for her article, and also just in thanks for that kind of spirit; one of the best things ”no, I’m going to say the best thing ”about this industry is the opportunity to meet people with hearts as big as Christina’s. She had saved her own money to attend the SCAA show, which is no small expense. She flew there, stayed in a hotel, and volunteered at the Latte Art Exhibition as well as at the Barista Nation Pop-up Cafe space; she had made many good friends through her experience at Barista Nation Texas.
I remember saying goodbye to her at the end of the Latte Art Exhibition ”we ran through some article ideas, and had one on the books for the December+January issue of this year.
Christina Mosley Furr passed away last night from a brain tumor, in Fort Worth, Texas, where she lived with her husband, Jacob. Both Jacob and Christina’s father were with her until the end.
There will be a memorial service in the coming days at Broadway Baptist Church, 305 W. Broadway, in Fort Worth. Details will be announced here and on Barista Magazine’s Facebook page when a date and time have been scheduled.
Whether or not you had the great opportunity to meet Christina Furr in person, I know you in the specialty coffee community ”and particularly the barista community ”knew what she was like, because she represented the best among us: people so passionate and curious and meticulous and happy about coffee, how it’s grown and prepared, and the people behind it. She couldn’t stop at being a great barista; she went farther as a documentarian, blogging and photographing for the pure love of it.
You can read through Cup of Texas here. And you can remember Christina in your hearts, and in the coffee you drink.