Hope you're doing well on this wonderfully grey day. There just seems to be no sunshine in London, I think I've almost forgotten what it feels like to have the sun shining on my face..! No hard feelings though, at least when it's raining it's a good excuse to tuck away in the corner of somewhere and feel super cosy. That happens a lot in London, so hey - I could go as far as saying that London is a comfortably cosy sitting. N'awh.
But heck, I digress. Today I'm broaching the topic that is my coffee 'career' so to speak. I know, I've spoken about it before, so i'm going to cut out all of the small details an instead talk about the concept of flitting from one job to another.
I've been quite lucky. I started in the coffee industry when it wasn't really a thing in England outside of London, thus it was much easier for someone with no experience to get into. Once I was trained up, it was time to head to University, and by that time I was practically stumbling into coffee shops.
If you're in the coffee industry in any way or another, you'll know that baristas are so hard to come by. There's simply too many coffee shops to hire baristas, and until baristas are paid a good wage to live on in London people are still going to see it as a 'bumper' job: what I call a job whereby you're only doing it to support yourself in other ventures. That's why you come across so many students and artists working in shops.
Plainly put - if you've got the skills, and are a decent human being, you can practically walk into a coffee shop job anywhere. No, I'm not joking.
So I made the most of this during my three years in London, and was lucky enough to work in some wonderful places around London. Unfortunately, however, a lot of people didn't agree with this idea of moving from place to place with the fear that it looked like I was simply indecisive and unable to commit to a certain job. This was definitely not the case.
Usually a coffee shop is particularly good at a certain thing. Without naming names, one of mine was an award winning roastery and thus had the freshest of beans straight from their head roasters. One was particularly known for its exceptional latte art, another for its amazing filter options. Although they were still brilliant in other areas of coffee, they would always excel at a certain thing.
Even before I'd worked in a handful of locations, I already knew this. When you're in the coffee industry there's less strict competition against you as a shop, but more a community and culture. Thrive in this community and both shops on your street will do well, that's one of the fascinating features of the coffee industry. This community meant that baristas and customers alike would visit the shops and talk about other places where they had visited, which meant naturally I gained a thirst for knowledge. Heck, I was a History student - it's in my blood!
So what I'm trying to say is to not be afraid to jump from coffee shop to coffee shop, but let's be reasonable here. I spent a good 6 months all of my shops, which gave me enough insight that was necessary but without messing around the owners of the places. Pick a handful of shops, visit them, work in them, and gain knowledge in areas of coffee you always dismissed. This may be as simple as a reason because they do not offer a certain coffee (e.g. hand brewed filter), but usually it's more-so the case that owners have a certain bias towards certain product, and dismiss others. Trust me, this happens a lot, and you don't realise it until you move away from a coffee shop and go to another where you're, to put it nicely, 'converted'. I remember I used to hate the idea of a batch brew, until I ended up in a place with a Moccamaster and reallised batch filter could be made well. I've never looked back since!
Don't be afraid to go crashing into the waves of the speciality coffee industry, rather than simply dipping your toe in. Trust me when I say it's much more exciting!
Until next time x