The Peccary, a New Jersey-based coffee shop, will be hosting a Barista Salon aimed at advancing the barista profession and providing road maps for a future in coffee.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Far too often, baristas are treated as expendable labor. Many baristas struggle with advancing in their careers, instead being forced to jump from coffee shop to coffee shop in hopes of finding a pathway that is sustainable and honors their work. However, many shops lack the resources or the foresight to make these baristas job viable.
The Peccary, a New Jersey-based coffee shop, is hoping to change that with the very first Barista Salon, an event aimed at promoting the barista profession and providing tools to craft a future in coffee. “I’m just hoping that our first Barista Salon will spark a chain of self-exploration and a from-the-ground-up look at how baristas can—and must—be the key to a lot of the issues plaguing the industry, not the least of which is living wages for everyone from farmers to baristas,” says shop owner David Hu. “But it’s not as simple as moving dollars and cents; it starts with a fundamental shift in how we operate our coffee shop business. And that means some of the stances that The Peccary has taken will very sharply challenge the norm of doing business.”
It’s no surprise that The Peccary is focused on baristas. “The very foundation of The Peccary coffee shop is to promote baristaship, by which I mean that everything we do as a business revolves around its impact on a barista’s professional development and personal well-being,” David says. “As it turns out, our mission statement and our initiatives to fulfill it have resonated deeply with our staff as well as our business partners, guests, and especially other baristas in the New Jersey and New York City areas.”
Although the event is aimed at baristas, it’s also meant to push business owners to think about their hiring and employment structures. “I’m also hoping that there will be future shop owners like myself in attendance, because they’ll be the ones who will be able to implement our concepts on a broader scale than I can ever do myself,” David says.
He continues: “And the fundamental ideas are: What is ‘baristaship’? Why is that even important to the job of being a barista? Where do baristas REALLY stand in the microcosm of a coffee shop versus in the grand scheme of the specialty-coffee industry? These are questions that are seldom asked and even more rarely answered, and yet in my experience, they are absolutely essential, not only for the future of baristas but also for the future of the industry.”
Barista Salon will take place on May 17 at The Peccary’s café (315C Millburn Ave., Millburn, N.J.). The salon will start at 7 p.m. sharp and will last two hours, featuring a 45-minute talk along with one to two barista stories and a Q&A at the end.