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Image: Amber Fouts

I first got into the industry because my dad owned coffee shops, and it was kind of cool to be part of the city. When I started competing I got to know baristas from all over the country. Now I have friends throughout the world just because we make coffee. The overall community is definitely why I stay in it.” 

“It’s still really difficult to translate the farm-level aspect of coffee production to the consumer. There is no such thing as local coffee. So how do we help the farmer? We create the market in Seattle that will further the industry by getting consumers excited about coffee.” 

“When I competed, my whole thing was about collaboration, the story of where your coffee came from. That’s something anyone can listen to and resonate with. If you get into the more sciencey intellectual approach, that’s great—but there’s only a few people who are really going to connect.”

“I’ve worked with more women than I have men. But the people who drive the larger conversations in situations like competitions are all men. There’s never been a woman World Barista Champion. So even though most of the people working in the cafe might be women, those aren’t whose voices are amplified.”

“Seattle is unique in that we’ve been drinking coffee here forever. People have brand loyalty and specific baristas they know. Maybe they’ve been going to the same coffee shop for 20 years. I don’t necessarily see that as much in other cities.”

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