In my last blog post, we met a few of the baristas at Sierra Madre's local coffee house, .
Between and alone, there are more than 20 barista’s working in Sierra Madre.
Many of you have seen the women and men who serve us those coffees, teas, frappes, lattes, hot chocolates, Frappucinos, blended drinks, etc. Our conversations are usually short: something like, “Hi, how are you doing, I'll take a large drip of the day or a soy latte, Americano, or expresso.”
So the challenge of writing about baristas at both locations is that they are rarely still and their attention is fiercely loyal to the customer and not the information gatherer, such as I am.
But over the past few weeks I've managed to spend a bit of time talking with many of them. So today we'll take a look at just who these gals and guys are when they aren't working at Starbucks.
Just down the street in Kersting Court is our local . I get a chance to talk to more of the baristas here. When I tell them what I’m doing they are very helpful. Cara gives me a list of all of the employees. Although I still don’t have a chance to catch up with everyone, I get a good sampling. Over a couple of weeks I ask them a series of questions.
1. Where are you from?/Where do you live now?
David was born in Duarte and now lives in Sierra Madre.
Cara is from Altadena and recently spent one year as an exchange student in Ecuador.
Nathan lives in Temple City.
Stephanie is from Burbank.
Levi and Kevin are both from Arcadia.
Sara is from Sierra Madre.
Belle is from Pomona and currently lives in Duarte.
Megan lives in Sierra Madre and grew up in the area.
2. What is your educational status?
Belle goes to Pasadena City College (PCC) where she studies sociology.
Megan is currently also at PCC where she is studying Communications and Public Relations. She is planning to transfer to a four-year university soon.
Kevin is a senior at Cal Poly Pomona where he is majoring in Liberal Studies.
Sarah just graduated from Azusa Pacific University in May and has a Nursing License.
David is a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona witha bachelors degree in Business. He has interned in the real estate industry and is now looking for a job now in business finance or real estate.
Nathan is a History major who's working on getting his teaching credentials. He is currently studying at Citrus college in Glendora and is planning a transfer to Cal State Los Angeles where he will pursue his teaching credential.
Cara went to Biola University where she majored in International Studies and Kinesiology, Sports and Movement: changing people life's through health and fitness.
3. How long have you worked at Starbucks?
Belle: Five years
Megan: Seven months at this store, but sheworked at the Pavilions location before.
Sarah: Three years
Kevin: Five years
David: Five years
Cara: Five years
Kate: Eleven years (She is the Sierra Madre store manager)
Nathan: Three years
David: Five and a half years
4. Is this your only job?
Megan: Also works at as spinning class instructor.
Nathan: Also works in a Japanese restaurant in the back office managing their inventory.
Cara is a shift manager, a personal trainer and a group exercise instructor.
5. What do you like about working at Starbucks?
Working at Starbucks is like family. They party together, work out together, go to school together. They hang out outside of work: graduation parties, birthdays etc. They are very close, and help each other out without hesitation. There is great camaraderie amongst the baristas here.
They have become friends through working together. They Like the fast paced environment, and the fact that it’s not a desk job. Most of them who are students plan to keep working until they graduate.
If you work 20 hours a week you get full dental and health benefits. The management works with you to help you apply for a receieve health benefits.
Megan loves her coworkers; most of managers and supervisors are women. The atmosphere is really positive, responsible, community oriented, and her customers are her favorite part of job. She came into the job knowing it would be a long-term job. She knew about the benefits. She makes great connections here; the job is great for networking. She wants to become a coffee master thru the Starbucks program.
"The Managers support our dreams, know that we will probably move on but give us a good foot up int the world," Megan said.
Sarah says that no other place would work around you and your schedule like Starbucks does.
Kevin likes the social interaction, working with coffee, his co-workers, the community. He hangs out with coworkers outside of the store and has made some good friends in the process.
Belle says the Sierra Madre location is special, it’s home. "You know if something is wrong with someone, I visited a customer in the hospital when they were sick," she said.
Megan crochets with one of her customers, Margie, who she visits at her assisted living facility.
Megan says Starbucks management takes very good care of their employees.
Stephanie has worked at nine different Starbucks locations. She worked at the Sierra Madre store when it first opened and it has since become her favorite.
6. Favorite Drinks?
Kevin: Black drip of the day or Espresso roast bold
Belle: Soy Latte, cold
Sarah: Just drip coffee; Verona or Thanksgiving blend
Megan: Changes all the time. Right now: plain coffee, probably the Rwanda
Kate: Calls her favorite drink "The Kevin." That's espresso shaken with vanilla syrup dash of half and half, shaken with ice.
David: Caramel macchiato with one pump less so he can look good for the summer
Nathan: Iced Americano with soymilk, or Cinnamon Dolce.
7. Their personal philosophies:
Kevin: "To each their own"
Sarah: "Be kind to everyone; do whatever you do to your best ability"
Cara: "Work hard, play hard, work out harder"
Nathan: "Easy going, go with the flow"
David: "Life is like a roller coaster, you’ve got ups and downs but you have to ride it to the end till the wheels fall off."
I'd like to give a sincere, special thanks to the busy, hard-working baristas of Sierra Madre for taking the time to share these little slices of their lives and ask that they please pardon any errors I have made.
If you’d like to get to know these folks they will welcome you in our wonderfullocal coffee houses: and .