When my sons were much younger they loved dinosaurs, specifically the animated series of movies starring a group of singing dinosaurs called The Land before Time. Now they are young men out on their own in this world holding down jobs, concomitant adult responsibility and doing a damn fine job of making their way in this land.
I watched those movies with my sons those twenty plus years ago on prehistoric format known as VHS. At that point in my life I had just left a career at a burning fuse of a coffee company called Starbucks. Why? Well, my historical fiction novel,Tripio was written partly to explore that. For today’s post I am focusing on that very time when most of the country was watching VHS, driving with both hands on the wheel and drinking coffee from gas stations – a country I now call “The Land before Starbucks”.
I have been blogging for just the past two years. There is a dinosaur tie- in there somewhere. Give me to end of this post, I’ll find it.
In Tripio, Jay’s prehistoric coffee landscape does share much with the one in which the modern barista roams. Tripio is three plots and narratives alongside and intertwined with each other. The Starbucks growth narrative is told from a barista’s perspective. Jay starts out as a barista and even when promoted up the chain to store manager, Jay is a barista at heart. After being promoted Jay still takes pride in his performance on the espresso bar at his current store on Diversey in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. He realizes that he must display mastery of the espresso bar for the customers and store functionality, but mostly to”earn the respect of everyone he works with.” This was the time when Jay (me) cared about how you drank your coffee. Yet, it was not even the first time, nor even close to being the last time Jay, I mean yours truly, cared about how you drink your drip coffee, latte or mocha. Let’s see, I cared about how you took your coffee when I worked at The Oregon Street Coffee House, Boston Stoker, Starbucks, Barnes and Noble Cafe, Aramark Refreshment Services, Filterfresh Coffee, Hubbard and Cravens Coffee, Julian Coffee Roasters and Harvest Coffee Roasters. Did I miss anyone?
In any case, all my coffee extensive and varied coffee experience came before I came to know blogging. In that way consider myself a dinosaur. Yet I also consider myself a heritage barista, spiritual great uncle to thousands and thousands off baristas come and gone since the start of the first Bush presidency. I was the water of the “first wave” of the modern coffee landscape we now see manifested on street corners, malls, airports and grocery stores. And much like the singing dinosaurs, I once knew, I did go extinct. Unlike them, however, it was partially it was by choice. Now, back and blogging about coffee, I can very honestly say, I do not care how you take your coffee. You see, I’ve been there and done that for real. I once had to care about how you took your coffee because it earned me the money I had to make in order to keep food on the table, to feed my dino-loving sons. I HAD to know, memorize and prepare your coffee drinks. I did so to keep my income coming and my life going. Then, I truly cared about how you took your coffee. The flip side is that I don’t care about how you take your coffee now. So, I am not to use coffee as click bait. By that I also mean that I care about you as readers and followers of this blog too much all to tell you I care, and want to know, now, just to get a couple cheap clicks. That honesty and work ethic kept me working in coffee for all those companies for about 25 years total. I will apply those traits to my career in blogging, no matter the duration.
Stepping off my high eohippus, I have to admit that I actually enjoy responding to click bait once in a while. Just don’t expect it from me here. I am reasonably sure that dinosaurs didn’t sing. And this coffee dinosaur doesn’t have to pretend like he can.
“May I help who’s next”