I arrived in Los Angeles five years ago. After a month of phone calls with Kyle Glanville, I was given the go-ahead to pack a u-haul trailer and move across the country for a job I was massively underqualified for. I never could have imagined our little band of 5 would eventually turn into what we now know Intelligentsia, Los Angeles to be. To say that I am simply proud to have been a part of this project would be a gigantic understatement.
My decision to leave Intelligentsia and resign my position of Educator in Silverlake was an incredibly difficult one. I was the rookie’s rookie when I showed up at the training lab door. The opportunities, experiences and new relationships I’ve had during my time here completely exceeded my expectations. I grew up here, in a way. My decision to leave is purely a personal one, and though I am sad to leave, I felt this was the best time for this sort of massive change.
This change of direction is fueled by several personal and professional projects that I would like to begin spending time on. I felt resignation from my position was important to not only give my ambitions a fair shake, but also to ensure the Baristas in Silverlake were given the full attention they deserve.
Coffee is in my blood. Figuratively, but quite literally as well. Not being involved in the specialty industry is almost unimaginable. We know that the rumor mill churns pretty efficiently around these parts, but I’d like to state that I am not jumping into any other coffee related things just yet. I will be staying in Los Angeles, but you won’t find me behind an espresso machine anytime soon. However, Coffee is in my blood. I look forward to a time when I have news to share.
There are countless people that are responsible for my growth and development over the past five years, but I’d like to publicly mention a few of them.
Kyle Glanville is the reason I had this amazing opportunity. I still can’t figure out why on Earth he thought hiring me was a good idea, but whether it was stupidity, a 6th sense or just a gamble, I am forever grateful. Kyle is nothing if not a passionate advocate for the barista and their craft. If it were not for this belief in the industry I wouldn’t know a “professional barista” could exist. Kyle was instrumental in laying the foundation for nearly everything I know about coffee and the skills required to do those coffees justice. Countless hours of mentoring, challenging and skill honing gave me what I needed to prove his hiring me wasn’t a ridiculous blunder.
“Tireless pursuit.” It’s printed on every bag Intelligentsia sells, and those two words pretty much sum up Doug Zell. His tenacious nature taught me more about hard work than anybody ever has. Tenacious doesn’t mean that nothing is good enough. It means believing in yourself and what you’re doing enough to set the bar even higher next time. I admire him greatly for his vision and enthusiasm for the industry, his company and the people that work with him. I wish I had half the battery life that Doug has.
The real reason I’ve never made a complete fool of myself during competition? Stephen Morrissey. He managed to help me turn all of my awful, half ideas into complete and meaningful ones. I’ve known Stephen almost as long as I’ve been in coffee and been privileged to work with him for many years. Always encouraging, but ever meticulous, I’ve learned so much from Stephen I don’t know where to begin. If anybody ever thought my competition music was decent you have Stephen to thank. If you hated it, you can blame him too.
It’s great when you can see a band perform live and they totally live up to their album. It makes you even more excited about their music once the show is over. Geoff Watts is the live show to Coffee Producer’s albums. Sometimes it’s hard to not get lost in all the names, countries, varietals, etc and remain excited about particular coffees. Geoff has always been the bridge between here and producing countries for me and everybody who works with him. His stories, knowledge and experience make this field feel a little more intimate. It’s hard to walk away from a conversation with Geoff without a new, and sometimes, a renewed excitement for coffee.
I truly believe that Intelligentsia is one of the finest coffee companies in the world. I feel honored to have been a part of such a revolutionary new project with the expansion out West. The direction Intelli is headed is an exciting one, and I can’t wait to see what happens.
Thank you all.