21 March 2009

making stuff, including but not limited to coffee

A few days ago, I alluded to setting up the conditions properly for me to make stuff. One thing I'll be making is coffee. I mean, more than I already do (a half press a day, no more). I'll be making it at Intelligentsia, at their soon-to-be-opened Venice shop.

My introduction to Intelligentsia was with my friend Beth, from Chicago but visiting from Brooklyn, who insisted we drive 15 miles out of our way for it. I didn't understand. She picked up four pounds of beans alongside her brewed coffee (for friends). When I finished my cup, I picked up two pounds (f0r me, me mememmeme ME). Sean Bonner put it well when he said "[...] Intelligentsia will change your entire perspective on what coffee should taste like." Yep. Here's why:

" ... We adhere to the philosophy that the compassionate treatment of people and the environment inevitably yields higher quality. So whether you are enjoying a cup in our store, in your favorite cafĂ© or restaurant, or in the peaceful confines of your home, we are certain that you will taste the difference that care makes." — Doug Zell, Emily Mange, and Geoff Watts (from the Intelligentsia website)

That's, like, one-thousandth of the Intelligentsia story. But it's the pith. So when I heard they were hiring, back in November, I applied with a quickness. I was too late for that round, but they had some delays. When things got moving again, they still had my resume. YOW.

Us future baristas will go through a rigorous, weeks-long training period at their roasting facilities in Glassell Park. They will teach us all there is to konw about coffee such that we care the hell out of it (more than we already do) so that we care the hell out of preparing it. I'm excited about how much I'll learn and the great people with whom I'll work. And they're doing some REALLY interesting things with interior & industrial design for the joint. Did they start this venture just for me? I think so.

"What the Yirgacheffe, Kate. What about all those years in design & advertising? Are you throwing that all away?" Of course not. I'm used to working 50-, 60-, 70-hour weeks, first at Cook+Fox, then in WK12, then at 72andSunny. I never worked these hours on anyone's urging but my own. I just ... really ... like working a lot, and I tend to choose jobs that reward that. (I come by it honestly; my parents both work hard because they love what they do.) And, I'm one of those freakpots that sleeps 4 or 5 hours a night. I'm going to have a lot more time than I'm used to, and a lot of creative energy, just kinda lying around. I have about six projects lined up.

It sounds like it's going to be pretty great. I will be working very hard (and I know this — I'm not taking the job lightly) for a company I respect and admire. And I'll be making my own stuff, which will also be hard, especially as some of the ideas I have require learning new skills. But I thrive on that momentum. And I can't wait to start.

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