This Barista Life: Part 3

Here we are and there we are and we are all together.

What was it like to once again pull up roots? This time moving back across the bay, closer to home and into the heart of the beloved Oakland.

If I haven’t made it clear, I love Oakland. I am less convinced at this point that Oakland loves me, but I will do my best to earn its love by fighting for it with every breath that I have.

I was excited, nervous, queasy to be meeting a whole host of new baristas, that first day of school feeling: what if they don’t like puns? what if they don’t like me? But I’m repeating myself.

And, of course, the thirst to prove myself, to put into play everything I had learned over the last nine months. My desire for perfection and cleanliness, my attention to detail, my abject humility.

They let me into a shining new cafe, and I was like a kid in the candy store. No problem was too small: should the for here set ups go under the espresso machine or somewhere else? Which way should the cups be facing? What does internal hospitality even mean?

I had too much fun nerding out, making puns, pulling faces, doing my cappuccino dance, etc etc etc. It is testament to my fellow baristas that my Ferry Building homesickness, though still intense, was not all-encompassing. I had the honor of helping to inaugurate a new cafe, and to welcome in a whole new neighborhood, hoping that we could learn from them, grow with them, and earn a place in their hearts.

I’m a little bit sentimental right now, if you couldn’t tell.

Anniversaries will do that to you.

So that’s where I’m at. A year at Blue Bottle. Still with so much to learn and so much to do. But I’m proud of all that I’ve accomplished. Proud that I went from steaming my first ever latte to competing in a latte art throw down. Proud that I went from tasting notes like “chocolate?” to participating in production cuppings. Proud that I went from knowing no one to pulling shots for our founder and CEO.

I’m so lucky and so grateful and so overly-caffeinated, and I can’t wait to see where the next year takes me.

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