Barista Magazine

APR-MAR 2014

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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First coffee job: I got a job at Plantation Coffee around 2001 after I quit my skate-shop job. It was a place my mom and I would get coffee on special occasions, and was just a few blocks from my house. They were pulling espresso and making cappuccinos a good 10 years before any of the big-box chain stores hit our little town. My friend Matt hooked me up with the job and did my first espresso training. He was into it and I was pretty pumped on getting to use the machine. It was fully manual. We ground, dosed, tamped, and manually controlled shot volume. We weren't allowed to adjust the grind, though, but that eventually changed. Coffee when you were growing up: We had coffee brewing 24/7 at my house—my mom loves coffee! We would just make it in a normal auto-drip machine that probably came from JCPenney circa 1972. We'd usually make Folgers or Yuban, but a couple times a month we would get whole bean from the local shop down the street (the one I would later work for) and grind it ourselves in our little whirly blade grinder. That stuff was the business! In high school, I'd brew a bunch of coffee into an insulated carafe and keep it in my locker. My best friend, Josh, and I would just sip on it in between classes and at lunch. First time coffee knocked you on your ass: Ritual [Coffee Roasters] was the first neck-breaking experience I had. It was 2005 and was within weeks of the original shop opening on Valencia [in San Francisco]. My friend Tony [Serrano] told me we had to go check out some of these awesome places that were in the Bay [Area]. It was the first time I'd seen a place like that. I loved the hanging lights and remember thinking the design of the whole store was just super clean. I ordered an espresso and a cappuccino and my face got fully melted. I never knew espresso could taste like that, it was just so… right. It was also the first time I'd seen latte art in person. We sat on the black couch in the back and I remember never wanting that cappuccino to end, it was so insane. Immediately after Ritual, we went to the Linden Street Blue Bottle kiosk, where I got a buttery macchiato from Jamie [McCormick] who now owns Abraço in New York. Café Organica (Eton Tsuno's place) was our next stop. I'm pretty sure Eton invented the multiroaster concept. He had Taylor Maid (Organic Panic), Barefoot (Redwood Espresso), and something from Zoka all available at the same time. That day changed my life. Full stop. Besides coffee: I love skateboarding more than anything. If I didn't injure myself so much I would just skate all day every day. I spend money on shoes and hats like it grows on trees. I love cars and do the occasional track day over at Sonoma Raceway with the E36. Shooting and editing video is something I really like. I've also been doing archery on the regular lately—just bought a new bow. When it rains I either play guitar or pretend I can draw, but I'd almost always rather be outside. Life in Santa Cruz: Perfect. I can get from the beach to the moun- Chris Baca, 33 Born and raised in Modesto, Calif. Head of Business Development Verve Coffee Roasters; Santa Cruz, Calif. 68 barista magazine B o o k 5 5 - 8 8 . i n d d 6 8 Book 55-88.indd 68 3 / 1 9 / 1 4 1 0 : 0 7 P M 3/19/14 10:07 PM

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