cover image by Aaron Tran
Hello readers! It’s been a while since we last spoke, eh? I’ve been a liiiiittle busy these days. My apologies for being absent.
Back in November 2015 I took on a position as the Assistant Beverage Director for Amelie’s French Bakery here in Charlotte. It’s been an incredibly growing experience for me. I went from working with two other baristas at The Daily Press to not only working with, but being responsible for, upwards of forty baristas across five locations scattered throughout the Carolinas (and even one in Atlanta!). Phew.
After I joined the company, the Beverage Director and I went through a total Coffee Department work through, re-assessing the structure of the barista program. We wanted to build on the foundations she had created, this time focusing on building a culture of education and growth for those employed in the Coffee Department. It was intense, it took up a lot of my time, it’s still not done yet. Ha! But we’ve made a lot of headway and I’m hoping that when I leave the company in March, the Coffee Department will have seen a lot of positive change and dope new programs will have been put in place for those employed within it. The barista talent within that company is massive, and those folks deserve the best.
(You read that right: I’m leaving Amelie’s in March. Let me explain.)
Back in February I stumbled upon the opportunity of a lifetime. Well, at least, the opportunity of my lifetime. While competing in a TNT at Summit Coffee, I met a person, Todd Huber, who’d later reveal to me that 1) he was planning on opening a coffee shop in Plaza Midwood and 2) he had no professional coffee experience but loved coffee and the industry deeply and 3) he was interested in us working together to build the shop. Undercurrent Coffee. 1900+ square feet. A beautiful, blank slate. Located a mile and a half down the street from my home.
We’ve been hard at work, organizing, creating, testing, tasting, meeting, dreaming, scheming. I can honestly say that I’ve been pouring out my heart and soul into this shop, and I’m downright giddy with anticipation as we draw closer to completion. So many great and talented people have come together to make this dream a reality- Aaron Tran will be running our food program, Todd and Erin Huber are our fearless leaders, the Plaid Penguin is killing the branding game, and Cluck is making all of our poorly-drawn lines into beautiful spaces and designs. This team of ours is so good. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better situation.
Demo has already begun and we’re hoping for an opening sometime in spring!
In the midst of all this goodness, I’ve picked up a handful of freelance barista trainings and coffee consultations. I’ve had the great pleasure of teaming up the likes of Pure Intentions Coffee, Southend Grind CLT, Sunflour Bakery, Your Mom’s Donuts, Espresso Mechanics and Coco and the Director to work on a variety of coffee programs, barista trainings and menu development.
The beautiful coffee people I’ve met along the way have inspired the heck out of of me, and as a result I’ve revamped my efforts with the Charlotte Coffee Collective Facebook page. I’m hoping to increase connectivity amongst coffee professionals in Charlotte and the surrounding cities. I want us to know one another, support one another, and learn from one another. The coffee industry in Charlotte is only going to flourish if we work together and if I can help with that, I want to. If you’re reading this and you’re interested in connecting with Charlotte-area coffee professionals, join the page!
I’ve also continued freelance writing for the Barista Magazine blog, picking up a series of assignments over the past year that have introduced me to some pretty incredibly coffee humans. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing some of the more Southeast-focused articles on here.
Oh! And I managed to complete my SCA Barista Level 1 and Level 2 certifications! Not going to lie, I was a little surprised that I passed my Level 2 practical exam but I’m not asking any questions. I’m just very, very relieved.
So, that’s my life: a whole lot of coffee, community and writing. I’m insanely happy and busy and hopefully by spring of this year we’ll be opening the doors to Undercurrent Coffee.
If you’d like to get in touch, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram. (I obsessively check my account upwards of several hundred times a day. I have a problem, I’ll admit.)
Thanks for sticking around, friends. Stay tuned for some re-posted Barista Magazine blog content, and a few other fun spotlights and articles I’ve got up my sleeve for the Bloom community!