Meet your barista: Skyler

Skyler, barista at the Paradise Cafe

Skyler, barista at the Paradise Cafe

This is the first part in a series wherein our intrepid Press Pot walks into a random café and puts the working barista on the spot. Look out, friends—who knows when we will be in your city, in your shop!

Paradise Cafe is a New York coffeeshop of another, possibly simpler era (think Central Perk from Friends) nestled unassumingly among the weirdly high-end boutiques of Eighth Avenue in lower Chelsea, New York City. After the jump, today’s barista—North Carolina native Skyler—tells me a little about her life behind the bar (after having served me a small cup of Equal Exchange Colombian.)
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Meet Amber Fox

Amber Fox (photo by Tonx, courtesy of Amber Fox)

Amber Fox (photo by Tonx)

Sitting across a booth from barista, consultant and forward-thinking coffee professional Amber Fox in a Manhattan diner, I couldn’t help but regret that the tape recorder could pick up her “aboot”s as clear as day but not the twinkle in her eye. (That’s only one of many reasons I hate tape recorders.) Canada’s coffee scene must be mourning the loss of this recent New York transplant, but it sounds like if we’re not careful, Gotham might be doing the same before long.

After the jump, Amber talks about why she isn’t grumpy about working at Café Grumpy, the role of gender in producing nations, and how poor Grandpa just can’t seem to understand why his little Amber would want to work so hard, for what, just a cup of coffee?

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Meet Barrington Coffee Roasting Company, Part 2: Gregg Charbonneau

Barrington Coffee Roasting Company

Barth Anderson and Gregg Charbonneau: Barrington Coffee Roasting Company

It was when he convinced college buddy Barth Anderson to go in on a roastery with him that Gregg Charbonneau started to see his future in coffee blossom twofold: with Barth the partnership behind Barrington Coffee Roasting Company, and as the captain of the ship at the Berkshire nook Lenox Coffee. Even now, after years of standing in front of a roaster or behind a commercial espresso machine at his café, Gregg is as wide-eyed about the whole thing as if he had just fired up that Diedrich for the first time: “I always think I sound like a dork,” he says. But don’t we all?

After the jump, Gregg talks about being a roaster who owns a coffeeshop, why roasting coffee sounded better than a career in art restoration, and the “Chicago chop.”

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Meet Barrington Coffee Roasting Company, Part 1: Barth Anderson

Barrington Coffee Roasting Company

Barth Anderson and Gregg Charbonneau: Barrington Coffee Roasting Company

In the Berkshire town of Lee, Massachusetts—a sleepy New England village with an off-season population of roughly 6,000—there are two men whose interests are more Longberry than Tanglewood: Gregg Charbonneau and Barth Anderson of Barrington Coffee Roasting Company. Barth and Gregg (or Gregg and Barth—it’s almost impossible after a while to not say one of their names without the other tagging along) have been churning out small batches of single-origin coffees together since 1993, when they bought the Diedrich IR-12 on which Gregg had learned to roast coffee in the ’80s. “That was just kind of a great idea, or we hoped it was a great idea to barter for our first coffee roaster,” Barth says. “Even at that point it was a pretty vintage machine!”

After the jump, Barth talks about sourcing single-origin coffees as a tiny microroaster, the magic of single-origin coffee, and how he & Gregg went from Scotch and cigarettes to Sulawesi and cappuccinos. Tune in next week to read what Gregg thinks about roasters who own coffeeshops (he’s one of ’em).

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Meet Andy Schecter

Andy Schom… er, Andy Schecter

Andy Schom… er, Andy Schecter

Andy Schecter is a familiar face—and a familiar avatar—on home-barista forums like CoffeeGeek and alt.coffee, and he regularly contributes (as much as anybody “regularly” contributes) to Portafilter.net. A kind, funny man with an easy laugh, Andy generously agreed to be among the first people to meet the new Press Pot: “I hear I’m right after Andrea Illy and just before the Pope.”

After the jump, Andy discusses how he discovered a love of coffee by not wanting to be killed in a Moka pot accident, what his ideal home-café setup is, and why crema is not gross.
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