-- boss barista is a site and podcast highlighting the hard work, strife, and injustices of the barista profession.

Episodes

Jasper Wilde and Ashley Rodriguez talk about gender, race, sex, and other important issues in coffee. We invite people from all realms of the coffee world to share stories and engage in discussion.

061: WACWA Is Pushing For Workers Rights

The Washtenauw Area Coffee Workers’ Union formed organically after their co-worker, Nya, quit the company they work at over blatant wage disparities. The group now represents seventeen baristas and is pushing for a progressive workers’ platform that facilitates democratic decision making within coffee organizations and supports direct actions that empower coffee workers.

On this episode, WACWA details the formation of their union, talks about what actions they have in store, and encourages others to look into whether unionizing is right for them.

Their union page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/WACWAbaristas/

A GoFundMe to support back wages for Nya is here: https://www.gofundme.com/justice-for-nya

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Ashley Rodriguez
060: Andrea Pacas on Tech in the Coffee Industry

Andrea Pacas is the 23-year-old CEO of Coffunity, the award-winning app making coffee more accessible. Technology opens up a world of possibility for coffee—from making coffee producers more accessible to providing information to consumers easily and reliably—we talk to Andrea about where she sees the future of coffee and the intersection of the industry with tech. We also talk about starting a business, being a female CEO, and share moments of validation and struggle. For real folks, listen to this one.

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Ashley Rodriguez
059: Kat Melheim of Coffee People Zine Does it All

Kat Melheim of Coffee People Zine gets shit done. An idea struck her during a latte art competition—why don’t I collect stories, art, and creative works from coffee folks and put them into a magazine? Five months later you have Coffee People Zine, a quarterly publication celebrating the creative pursuits of folks in the coffee world. She’s expanded the magazine, put on a film festival, thrown countless parties to promote the magazine and still has a ton more to share.

We talk to Kat about pursuing ideas, how to make decisions, and the connection between Coffee People Zine and her former life as a social worker. There’s some secret goodies at the end for listeners, too. ;)

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Ashley Rodriguez
058: Gabe Boscana On Identity And Trust in Green Buying

Gabe Boscana of Maquina Coffee Roasters faces a daily conundrum - how do we buy coffee responsibly? In this episode he talks about the ethics of buying coffee at all, what it means to be Latinx during a sourcing trip, and if you haven’t heard it on here yet, we bring it up again: we discuss how and if anyone ever needs to go to a coffee-producing country to source coffee. Photo by Lindsey Shea.

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Ashley Rodriguez
056: Jen Apodaca Is Making Coffee Roasting Accessible, pt. 1

There are few people in the coffee industry that are as easy to talk with as Jen Apodaca. Catching Jen at a party can often lead from a casual hello to a two hour conversation about family, growth, life, and, well coffee. Today we’re thrilled to have part one of a two-parter breaking down Jen’s experience roasting coffee and eventually her role in helping develop the #shestheroaster campaign. Part one covers Jen’s background, but part two delves into the future. Stay tuned!

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Ashley Rodriguez
055: Brittney Balestra Celebrates Womxn in Colorado Springs

The Colorado Springs Independent, a local newspaper, released a poll asking its readers to vote for their favorite baristas in the area. The list failed to include any womxn in a community overflowing with amazing womxn coffee professionals. Brittney Balestra of Third Space Coffee noticed, and decided to do something about it. Today we talk with Brittney about exclusion in your community, what defines a great barista, and how she single handedly challenged her city’s local newspaper.

To vote for your favorite womxn coffee professional, go here: http://www.easypolls.net/poll.html?p=5b9ec483e4b05a9fecafffc1

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Ashley Rodriguez
054: Soleil Ho On The Flaws of the Service Industry

What does it mean to consume a $5 burger? How do we rectify the need to provide people with affordable food and create viable food and service jobs? Soleil Ho is an accomplished writer and host of The Racist Sandwich and Popanganda podcasts, and she joins us today to talk about the flaws of service - we unpack a lack of diversity in ownership, meritocracy in service, and we nerd out - one podcaster to another. Illustration by Wendy Xu.

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Ashley Rodriguez
053: The Abortion Series - Jennifer

We continue with the abortion series, a storytelling project normalizing abortion amongst coffee professionals. Today, Jennifer tells her story of tumultuous relationships and finding ways to communicate with her coworkers and superiors. Jennifer’s story shines a light on the sometimes destructive way we force employees to separate their personal lives from their work lives, and will force you to consider opening your ears and eyes to the stories of others. And for those of you who feel the need to throw shade, Jennifer welcomes your DMs.

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Ashley Rodriguez
052: Boss Barista Presents Filter Stories

On this episode of Boss Barista, we present Filter Stories, a new coffee podcast focused on longform storytelling. In this episode, host James Harper interviews the folks involved with the Waking Life scandal in Asheville, North Carolina. Negging, red pill theories, and a story about community action are all in this jam-packed episode.

Check out Filter Stories on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or filterstories.org

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Ashley Rodriguez
051: Alice Wong Says #suckitableism

Alice Wong joins us today to talk about the straw ban, ableism in public spaces, and performative activism in a capitalist society. Alice is the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project, and is an disabled-rights activist based in San Francisco. Alice talks about the rhetoric of the straw ban, how disabled voices are often erased, and how she fell into activism and storytelling. If you have any questions, thoughts, or are confused as to how the straw ban hurts and erases the stories of disabled folks, you have to listen to this episode. 

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Ashley Rodriguez
050: Nyambura Njee On Race and Wage Disparities

On August 6th, 2018, Nya Njee shared her story of racism and wage disparities. She was the only black female at a coffeeshop in Ann Arbor, and was repeatedly promised, then denied, wage increases. She was told conflicting things about her work ethic, dealt with defensive business owners, and finally discovered that she was being paid less than her white coworkers, many of whom had not been working at the cafe for as long as she had.

On this episode, Nya shares her story. If you're a business owner, please use this story to check your wage policies. If you're an employee, remember that it is illegal for an employer to intimidate or suppress discussion with your coworkers about wages.

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Ashley Rodriguez
048: Vava Angwenyi on Decolonizing Empowerment

We continue to explore the colonialist systems that are interwoven in the coffee industry by asking what does it mean to truly empower a group of people? Vava Angwenyi, founder of Vava Coffee and cofounder and director at Gente Del Futuro, talks to us about how colonization has affected the way we view empowerment and created systems of dependency that farmers are unable to get out of (and frankly most companies want them to stay in). If you've ever wondered why coffee prices are stagnant or how exploitative goodwill projects can be, this is a must listen. 

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Ashley Rodriguez
047: Becca Woodard Is A Champion Of The People

TWO COFFEE CHAMPIONS IN A ROW! Becca Woodard is the 2018 United States Brewers Cup Champion, and she generously sat down with us TWICE (the first episode was scrapped due to audio issues and frankly, we're lucky because this one is wayyyyy better!). An honest and open dialogue with Becca, where she dishes on representation in competition, what it means to compete on behalf of her company, and real talk on gaining privilege and prestige after winning a national title. She's amazing—put this episode in your ears now.

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Ashley Rodriguez
046: My Barista Champion, Andrea Allen

IT'S ANDREA ALLEN! If you haven't seen a barista competition routine by Andrea, stop what you're doing and go watch—Andrea manages to evoke feelings you didn’t know you had, create trust with her audience and judges, and just make you fucking bawl every time she takes the stage. In this interview, we go beyond the barista competition stage, and learn more about what inspires and motivates Andrea to pursue excellence in coffee. And she also tells a few funny stories. :p

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Ashley Rodriguez
045: Bani Amor is Decolonizing Travel Culture

Have you ever been told, "you just HAVE to go to origin?" Do pictures of farmers and children in coffeeshops really bug you? Do the words "hardworking" or "humble" or "exotic" belong anywhere on a bag of coffee? Coffee is built on colonial structures, and its bled into the way we view the way we travel and talk about coffee. In this episode, travel writer Bani Amor talks about what it means to decolonize travel culture, and to create space for all identities. They talk about migration as travel, tell people to stop going on fucking all-inclusive cruises, and break down the language cues that oppressors use to uphold the dichotomy of "us" and "them." This is a must-listen. Bani's work can be found at www.baniamor.com.

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Ashley Rodriguez
044: Mayra Hernandez Part Two

In this episode, we sit down with Mayra Hernandez and talk about hiring, being in the spotlight, and what happens when you open a business (hint - you get REALLY busy). Mayra gives advice on mentorship, and insights on building community in neighborhoods. Listen to this episode. You will come away with some new ideas.

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Ashley Rodriguez
043: Mayra Hernandez of Back of the Yards Coffee

Mayra Hernandez opened a cafe in her childhood neighborhood in Chicago called Back of the Yards Coffee Co, and we sit and chat at her cafe in part one of a two part series. We talk about returning to your neighborhood, what building community looks like, and ponder why local artists' works and neighborhood flyers have disappeared from modern coffee shops. This is the first episode of Boss Barista produced in partnership with Good Beer Hunting (www.goodbeerhunting.com) and is sponsored by Juniors Roasted Coffee (www.juniorsroastedcoffee.com). 

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Ashley Rodriguez
042: Jasper's Last Episode

Jasper and Ashley started Boss Barista almost two years ago, and now Jasper says goodbye to the podcast (and coffee!) in this episode. Jasper and Ashley talk about their highs and lows, and Ashley conducts an exit interview with Jasper. THIS IS NOT THE END OF BOSS BARISTA. More Boss Barista will be coming to you - and we talk at the end about the future of the show. 

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