I asked Drew Von Arx to answer a couple of questions that would be informative both in the field of running a coffee shop and executing coffee. Drew just returned from competing in the Big Eastern Barista Competition. He is a valuable member of The Commonplace Coffee Co. He led the transition of Voluto Coffee to Commonplace at Voluto for a little over a year. He is now working as a liaison of the Commonplace to Pittsburgh. He helps manage the retail stores, roasts espresso, helps keep machinery in proper working order, and helps bring some reasoned sanity to the whole company (oh yeah, and reminds me of Simpson’s episodes almost every time I see him – he gets major points for that one). -TJ
here are the questions and answers:
What is the most difficult thing of running a coffee shop?
leaving. i always feel a little guilty leaving, but my heart stops for a second every time the phone rings.
What is your favorite part of running a coffee shop?
the guests. the good ones always outweigh the bad. i’ve had many good friendships develop from people who were “regulars.”
there’s more to the story, but it could be said that i met my wife, kellyn, at my first coffee shop.
What is your favorite brew method?
to drink: chemex. to prepare: espresso
What is your favorite part of being a barista?
i love making drinks that people like. it sounds a bit egotistical to say that i like to hear, “that was the best [drink] i’ve had in a while,” or even “that was really good today,” but i really love to hear it. not because i need the affirmation, but because i truly want guests to enjoy what i serve them.
What is your favorite drink order to make?
jack and ginger beer. oh…drink order? probably means coffee drink…cappuccino.
What is your favorite coffee you have ever had?
a cappuccino at mecca espresso in sydney, australia. it was good, by no means unusual, but it was a beautiful morning in sydney. you could give me a rabies shot on a beautiful sydney morning and i’d be happy…