Name and Role: Odie Anaya, Barista at Crema Coffee House
Experience: 5+ years, California and Colorado
How did you end up in coffee: My coffee experience started accidental. I was offered a job while I was working at a different job and I took it as a joke and I got hired on the spot. From there I got out of coffee when I moved to Denver and then I would get thrown back in, cuz I would work at bookstores that had coffee shops. So because they knew that I had some experience, they would throw me back in. And I’d say I’d been doing coffee fully on for about the past 5 years.
What is the Colorado coffee community like: Colorado is very supportive, everyone wants to help everyone succeed its not this secretiveness of “I’m not gonna give you my ratios, I’m not gonna tell you what does and doesn’t work for me” …In Denver [throwdowns], everyone is like “Oh hey! I’ve never met you before! What’s your name? Where do you work at?” Its more friendly, its more encouraging here even when somebody gets knocked out its still like, “Oh dude! You still did so great!” Its very encouraging…
Best part of working in coffee: I love working in service. I like customers, I like meeting new people. I love that at the shop that I’m at we get to play with so many different kinds of coffees and we can do so many different things. And we have the freedom to experiment with things, so it doesnt seem mundane to me, cuz I get bored very easily. So I can try new things on a regular basis. And it constantly peaks my curiosity which then makes me go out and like look for other sources to gain more knowledge and then bring that back in here and kind of try to play with that. So I really enjoy that aspect of it.
Something you’ve tried in coffee that you won’t go back to: So I guess, one thing that I would not go back to is working at a place that is willing to bend rules in order to make money versus really caring about the quality and the craft and love behind the product.
When you step outside of the coffee world: I do leatherwork on the side with my friend Jason, who also works at Crema…So we do belts, wallets, we did a collaboration hat with Crema, that is a one time run only. We are also working on making some purses, some clutch bags, constantly trying to try new things. I also go to a lot of shows, I’d say I go to atleast 4 a month. Its rare if I don’t do that, I like being on my bike, I like reading comic books as well, playing board games.
A few things in coffee you’d like to check out: I am curious about roasting and how you can get the same bean, the same lot, give it to two seperate roasters and have very very different outcomes. I’m also really interested in the science behind coffee because I have like a gut feeling for what I’m doing, but I don’t know why I’m doing it. I’d like to find out a little bit more of the science aspect of it and I’d really like to try to play with different kinds of water and how that also effects the outcome of your beverages.
Advice for newer baristas: I guess, nobody comes into coffee knowing. Always ask questions, don’t assume. And its way better to ask a ton of questions than to be afraid of asking because you feel like you’re not good enough. There is no such thing. Everyone has different palettes and everyone has different tastes. And to an extent, I feel like there is no right or wrong. There are certain things you should follow, but always ask questions and keep searching for answers.
Best part about working at Crema: I feel that everyone who works here is very talented. I like that we all push eachother to be better baristas, we all bounce ideas off eachother, we all ask eachother questions…. Honestly, its the only place I’ve ever worked at where every single day we all tell eachother how much we appreciate eachother, care about eachother, love eachother. Its rare if you go a shift here without anyone saying, “Hey, you’re doing a great job” or “Hey, you’re awesome”… Its not like an unspoken rule or anything, its just, we all really want eachother to succeed and be happy.
Shout Outs: A shout out to everyone who has been supportive or encouraging of me to challenge myself, from whether it was the first throwdown that I did… to last year when I was encouraged to try the Cherry Roast competition. I mean just every other barista who works in town as well, cuz everyone is so supportive of everyone. Its greatly appreciated.