-- 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.

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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041: Samantha Mason & Korbin Richards on the Gimme Coffee Union

In May 2017, baristas at the four upstate New York Gimme Coffee locations voted to unionize, becoming the first group of baristas to form a union. Two of the organizers, Samantha Mason and Korbin Richards join us and talk about how they formed the union, what protections can baristas work towards, and the power of collective action. Hear from members of Workers United Local 2833! 

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040: Meghan McCarron on Power and Economic Responsibility

Meghan McCarron is a staff writer for Eater.com, and wrote an article about sexual misconduct in the hospitality industry called "Dear Bad Man: Divest From Your Restaurants Already." We talk power, economic loss and gain, and the responsibility of restaurants and coffeeshops when they are the subject of sexual misconduct allegations. Read the article here: https://www.eater.com/2018/1/25/16932246/dear-bad-men-divest-from-your-restaurants-already

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039: Running a Podcast Isn't Cheap...

Ok folx. We're not gonna lie - we need your help. In this episode we tell a story about failed sponsorship, sad feels, proper plant care, and do our VERY FIRST SEGMENT: #thoucrushshoutout where we highlight coffee folx past and present doing amazing things! Please consider donating to our patreon page - it's what keeps the podcast going: www.patreon.com/bossbarista

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038: It's Not Over—An Unofficial Four Barrel Wrap Up

It's been almost six weeks since Jeremy Tooker and Four Barrel coffee were sued based on allegations of sexual misconduct and creating an environment where harassment was tolerated. So we emailed. We boycotted. We rallied. We watched current owners, Jodi Geren and Tal Mor, oscillate between divesting from their company and then hiring the PR crisis firm Sitrick and Co, who represents Harvey Weinstein. Now what? In this episode, we reflect on the last few weeks and make an open call to current owners, Jodi and Tal - if you want to talk and share your story, we're here to listen. Our email address is bossbaristapodcast@gmail.com.  

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036: Molly Flynn is Starting Drama and Talking Shit

Molly Flynn was fed up listening to the stories of harassment and assault her friends experienced in the coffee industry—so she organized. Molly is the founder of #coffeetoo, a grassroots organization dedicated to ending harassment in the coffee industry. We get real, we get personal, and we talk shit. CHECK OUT #COFFEETOO GOFUNDME www.gofundme.com/startdrama

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035: Update on the Four Barrel Lawsuit

Last week, Jeremy Tooker and Four Barrel settled the lawsuit brought against them by eight former employees. But there's still work to do. Jodi and Tal promised to divest—they haven't yet. Instead, they fired the majority of their production team. So we have a big ask of you: reach out to the cafes you know continuing to serve Four Barrel and ask them to DEMAND DIVESTMENT BY FEBRUARY 15TH. Demand transparency, demand that shares of the company be given to employees (not sold), and demand a timeline. If you need a form letter to send to your local cafes, we got you covered

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Ashley Rodriguez