role Director of Coffee, Quality Control
region Minneapolis, Orange County, Pu’er
tasting notes Apricot, Black Sesame, Shishito
You’ve been behind the bar at Wesley quite a while, right?
Yep, basically from the very beginning. The way it happened was pretty organic, but it sort of came out of nowhere—at least from where I was standing. I’d call it a happy accident. Back before we opened the cafe, I’d been slowly coming to terms with the idea of quitting music as my full time pursuit, and instead began thinking of working in a coffee shop or some other such flexible gig. I was between jobs, and an old friend came to me with the pitch for Wesley Andrews—they were looking for barista help, and somehow I had come up.
And it was Andrew that approached you?
Yep! We’d known of each other from a long time ago.
Did you think back then that your connection with him would lead to starting a coffee shop from the ground up?
*Laughs* No, I don’t think my mind was going there at all, at least not consciously. I always hoped I might do something creative with my life, but what that creative thing was seemed to change a few times. As I kid I had it in my head that I’d start my own skate shop or something—I had an old sketchbook I’d filled with a whole bunch of designs and everything. Then closer to getting out of school, I was drumming in a band and making some art on the side. I guess the lifestyle all those activities nurtured made it easier for me to cross into the barista world, but the coffee shop idea didn’t actually occur until I got a bit older and had tried a couple different things. At any rate, enough time had gone by that the offer sort of felt like a surprise.
Do you think it was a pretty big change in life direction?
I think there was a consistency to it, the way I look at it. I’ve been lucky enough to live in quite a few places, and have learned a lot about what I want my life to look like in each one. As a kid I was really privileged to have lived by the ocean, and life back then really taught me to rest and be free to spend time with family and other people in a meaningful way. I think for a while in my life I sort of lost that viewpoint. But after working with Jared and Johan for a while, an opportunity arose for me to study coffee in China. I met a lot of incredible people while I stayed there in Pu’er (shoutouts Torch Coffee). We spent a lot of time together in the night markets and around dinner tables, and ever since, I’ve felt more and more grateful that being in coffee has led to me finding more time for people right here and right now. Working in service isn’t always easy—you have to really love the work and love people to stay in it—but it’s made me think a lot more positively. I think there’s a certain honesty to the work when you put yourself into it without any expectations and aspirations. Just being across the bar and making something delicious for somebody I might not know is a really worthy pursuit in and of itself. So despite the previous thoughts I had, I’d like to think I’m still living the dream.
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