Baristas You Should Know

Meet the baristas who hold your caffeine life in their hands
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Baristas. Many have become features in our daily landscapes. No matter our mood and no matter the weather, they’re always there to caffeinate us when we need it most, and even when we don’t. As a caffeine addict, I’ve come to love my daily trips to local coffee shops, not only because I get to jump-start my system with sweet and stimulating joy, but because I get to spend the time catching up with those who are responsible for my daily resurrection.

While our baristas have become an integral part of our lives, we often forget that they’re people just like us, and not angels sent from heaven above to save us from falling deeply into black holes of stress and exhaustion. With this realization in mind, I sat down with local baristas, asked them about their jobs and explored their personalities. So, without further ado, I’m pleased to introduce you to three of your local baristas.

Justin Rosenthal

Black Dog at the Square

Time at Black Dog: Two years

Shifts (typically): Thursday–Monday, closing shifts

What’s your favorite part about being a barista?
A: One of my favorite parts is being able to excel in serving people something that I enjoy when I’m on the other side of the counter. Getting to do that and being inventive, waking people up, providing a space for community and for productivity, and also for relaxation. Just, being part of the community and having somewhere where you know you fit.

Describe yourself in three words.
A: Abstract (laughs) — that’s terrible! I’d say spacey and a dreamer, too.

If you were a wild animal, what would you be?
A: A Rockhopper penguin because I like them a lot and because I don’t think I’d be too good at being a predator. I feel like I’m too strange to be like a fierce animal. … I just kind of waddle along (laughs).

Taylor Mack

RedEye Coffee on Thomasville Road

Time at Red Eye: 1 year

Shifts (typically): Almost every day, shift times vary

What’s your favorite part about being a barista?
A: I just love seeing the customers. You have your certain customers that you get to know, which can happen at any job, but I think, especially at coffee shops, people just die for coffee and are addicted to caffeine. … I like to think we’re saving lives here (laughs). But also learning a lot about different types of coffee and how to do different things has been really cool.

What are five things you can’t live without?
A: Definitely need my Chacos (laughs), a hammock, I have a big straw hat — I’m an outdoorsy person — my Nalgene for water, and I guess my phone, so that I can hit my friends up!

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have one thing, what would it be?​
A: Only one thing?! Ughhh … could it be something made up? Could it be a plant that grows whatever I want? Because that’s the smart answer, I guess. But I would probably bring the book The Alchemist, if I could only bring one thing.

Dom Davila

Catalina Café at Garages on Gaines

Time at Catalina Café1 year

Shifts (typically): Almost every day, shift times vary

What’s your favorite part about being a barista?
A: The favorite part is when someone comes in and they’ve never been here before, and I give them a drink, and the way that their face lights up … and they’re like “This is so good!” and I’m like, “I know, dude!”

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
A:I like waking up early, but I prefer to stay up. I used to work at Chick-fil-A on the night shift for a year, so naturally I’m nocturnal. And I like going out when there’s no one out, but at the same time I like seeing the sunrise. Like I’d rather wake up at 6 and see the sunrise, and be like, “Wow this is great. I’m like dying right now, but it’s fine.”

What are three words that describe you?
A: I’m a weirdo.

Those are your three words?
A: Yep, those are my three words.

Categories: Q&A, Society