Coffee is an industry that has dozens of moving parts to make it function. Not least of which is the barista. This is why we spent the day with Ron Grieco, long-time barista, and co-owner of two Stacks Espresso Bar's in Albany, NY. His life didn't start in coffee, and honestly, it took him a while to come around to it. It wasn't until he was ready to move on from drugs and alcohol, that he fell in love with the industry and all that it had to offer. Now, he owns two coffee shops, both fully staffed with wonderful people that have become coffee experts themselves. He wakes up early and stays up late because it's his grind and he loves it (the caffeine helps too).
"The most important part about being a barista is great customer service and keeping the place clean. Be willing to do whatever it takes to get things open and running. "
"Eventually I got a job at the coffee shop but I didn't know anything about coffee. I started learning slowly about it, worked hard, and three months later I was the manager"
"I discovered that there was a whole world of coffee that I never even knew about and it fascinated me."
"At 19 I squatter punk traveled around the Northeast. I got heavily into drugs and alcohol and that stuck through when I moved back to Albany. When I was 23 I got sober and right after that I got into coffee."
"People say 'find a job that you love and you'll never work a day in your life and that's not true. I love making coffee." he says, "You're working, no matter how much you love you love the general subject matter but it's the passion for doing something for yourself that you believe in."
No matter where you are in the USA, there's a chance that there's a barista hustling to make the perfect cup of coffee just miles away.
Coffee is not just a thing you need to wake you up in the morning, for most, it's a lifestyle.