Barista Magazine

FEB-MAR 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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When Adam talks about the Washington, D.C., coffee community, there's affection in his voice, and here's why: There are so many great shops in a relatively small city that it wouldn't be surprising for in-fi ghting to occur, and for competitiveness to get out of hand. Instead, most D.C. baristas are overwhelmingly supportive of one another. While cafés do literally compete for customers' dollars, their individual competition is characterized more by a desire to grow. "We're all competing against the course," Adam says, using a golf metaphor this time. "People are there mostly to have a good time, and partly to see where their skills land them." There is one thing Adam would like to change about the D.C. coffee community, though. While the total population of the District is 47 percent African-American/Black, that number isn't refl ected in the number of baristas or café owners. He comes back to visibility here: People won't know there's room for them until they see someone like them in the picture. That's much of the reason why Adam aspires to be an example of a Black café owner. Adam is planning to open a shop called tell (yes, with the lowercase "t"). "Coffee isn't a necessity, it's a luxury," he says, "but increasing Black presence in coffee is a necessi- ty." He hopes to open a barista-focused café where no one forgets the "why" of coffee. Each cup is a story, one he wants to tell. That terrible pun isn't mine, just so you know. I'm pretty sure I got it from Adam, who takes great joy in sliding a pun into any conversation he can—the worse, the better. If you've never met him, all you have to do is follow him on Twitter. Who he is online is a pretty accurate representation of who he is offl ine too, and there's something reassuring about that amid the phoniness of much of social media. He doesn't censor himself, though after the 10th pun in an hour, you might wish he'd let some go. You can count on Adam to be exactly who he says he is, and trust that his intentions are exactly what they appear to be. In the grand scheme of things—coffee community things—Adam doesn't see himself as very important. He would like to be an example for younger Black baristas, though, one who can help inspire them as they start their own coffee journeys. I was fortunate to be around when Adam's coffee story began, but he quickly outpaced me and has become someone I get to look up to in the industry. I'm happy to be his friend, I'm proud to see how he's using his voice here, and I'm as excited as the rest of you to see what he does next. e a e ts a n d st sa t 59 www.baristamagazine.com

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