Interview: Ashley Szczesiak

Basic information (Name, age, department, year(s) working at a coffee shop, what coffee shop, additional occupation, etc.)

Ashley Szczesiak
27
Former Barista

Do/did you enjoy working in a coffee shop? What do/did you do?

When I first started working as a barista, I thought it would be fun and chill. In reality, it was a fast-paced and competitive environment in which you were at the mercy of the employer.

Do you still drink coffee, if so from where?

Yes, I do. I normally drink dark roast and buy it from Bittersweet, a pastry shop at Belmont; as well as from Metropolis Co. and Intelligentsia. 

Are you satisfied with the coffee you made for other people?

I am not intense about how I feel when I make coffee for other people. I followed the five steps I was taught when trained as a barista.

Are you satisfied with the coffee you made for yourself?

I don’t make coffee for myself. I end up making too much which can be bad for my health. Besides, I like the experience of going out to get coffee.

How much information did your employer/company provide you with about coffee and/or coffee consumption? Was there information about the company’s coffee that your employer required you to “sell” to your customers?

No, not really. Being in Brooklyn, New York, the coffee shop I worked for sold Brooklyn Roasting Co. coffee, which everyone assumed to be fair trade and organic.

How does your coffee shop place itself within the spectrum of its competitors? i.e., better quality coffee, locally roasted, free trade, etc.

Brooklyn Roasting Co. was the brand that was sold at my coffee shop. It is known as high end, but within high end coffee it is actually middle of the road. Viewed as artisanal, not gourmet, I usually buy bags and give them as gifts.

How does coffee (different amounts, times when consumed) affect or influence your academic, art and leisure practices?

I drink coffee when I have to grade papers, answer e-mails or work on my thesis. But when I make Art, I don’t drink any. Art is the coffee. 

Interview by Natalia Sanchez Hernandez

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