on Peter Guiliano, SCAA + Coffee Culture


I’m a fan of podcasts. Even more so, when they inspire my own thoughts and musings on something that is beloved to me.

In this instance, its a recent podcast by Seattle Coffee Scene, which inspired three listenings and my own thoughts on the remarks of Peter Guiliano’s thoughts about coffee, the industry and the culture. I’ve excerpted the lines that resonated with me and followed them with my own thoughts. It is indubitably an exciting time for coffee and the culture that it breeds.  cupUp

1. On changes in the coffee industry.  “There was very little to-go coffee culture. “

Very interesting! Coffee culture is thought of in relation to what or how coffee was being mitigated and not as much as what was happening around the culture that the coffee was inspiring.  Now, its nice to see the coffee culture can be seen through a bigger peephole, with an aperture wide enough to see the light of the other factors around coffee.

2. “I still identify as a barista because thats the place I became a coffee professional.” 

If one is ever behind the counter, its like you never can leave that experience, that communal interchange. As friend Jason Dominy said to me once, “once a barista, always a barista.”

3. “The phenomenon of the barista owned coffee shop.”

I love that this a thing, baristas being multiple roles and leading the charge of ownership in the current culture of coffee. It’s like eating from the kitchen that grandma baked her own cookies in -uber personal and familial- and that’s what I want to feel when I’m walking into what many times is my second home. 

4. “We think of the barista as the voice of all of us.”

The barista’s voice is so important especially as coffee and its culture has an increasingly global face. It reminds me of the importance of the words, the stories and the narratives baristas share while competing, specifically I’m reminded of  Timothy Graham of Slate Coffee Roasters who said during the 2013 North West Regional Barista Competition, “As a barista, I’m the salt of the earth. I bring context to flavor.”  Epic quote, I’ve never forgotten it.

5. On the SCAA Event: “It’s a great taste at what coffee culture looks like. “

I attended last year for the first time and I think ‘taste’ is the right word to describe the event as its called and as it approaches. I believe there’s so much more that can be shown in the interest of the Arts when it comes to coffee culture in general and at the ‘Event’. So, I’m this will be showcase this year and in future years to come as more of coffee culture is given a voice.

6. Our industry has grown from being niche…to a food movement.

I think in a large way that coffee is still niche. I think it’s a food movement within food, but when specialty coffee can break even that boundary and be a cultural movement, I believe that’s when it will also expand beyond just being niche. It will have the ability to still retain some of the characteristics that allowed it to be a subcultural movement before it became a global one. And, its coming.

7. It’s a great time to be in the coffee business, people’s awareness is growing all the time.

True indeed! To be in the coffee business is really to be in the people business. It is so beautiful to see more people exposed and opened to better experiences around what coffee can taste like and the environment in which it’s tasted in.