September 13, 2010


I've written before that a certain bond exists among baristi. Those of us who spend our working hours behind a coffee bar, and our other hours near one, of course have coffee in common -- but much more as well.

We have stories. Oh so many stories. Tales of customers, great and terrible. People who love you, hate you, and everything in between. People who are just weird, and can't be ascribed any specific descriptor.

We share knowledge others consider trivial. We know the difference, not just between African and South American beans, but between Kenyan and Ethiopian, Colombian and Peruvian. We love the hiss of milk steaming, appreciate the pour, and savor the result.

And we talk. We talk, because you aren't a good barista if you aren't a good talker too. At least once a week, I meet a stranger, who is a friend in coffee. We talk, we smile, and we go our separate ways, but to similar places.

This is to say nothing of one's coworkers. War analogies are cliche, and perhaps even insulting to those who have experience the genuine article. But even still, there's a feeling of closeness that comes from exhaling together, having faced down an impossible rush.

I sat, just 24 hours ago, in the corner of a bar with my current coworkers. I drank coffee. They drank other things. Eventually, so did I. We laughed at nothing and everything. We talked about grave matters, ridiculous matters, and many things that did not matter. We had one hell of a time. I know I did.

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