The people who work for us are seriously top notch humans, and we’re excited to introduce you to them in this column of barista profiles called “Baristars.”
A lot of the folks who work at our 3 Logan Square store have been with us since the very beginning. One of those OB's (Original Baristas) is Nora, a native Wisconsin-ite who has called Philly home for the past four years. She's a real cool lady with a sincere passion for coffee.
After graduating with a degree in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI, Nora went on a travel adventure to Central America for a few months. In El Salvador, she randomly met a young guy who owned a coffee farm, cafe, and hostel - part of a resurgence in small businesses in the country started by young people who are moving back now that the civil war has ended. She took a tour of his farm, which she credits as a major factor in getting her interested in 3rd wave coffee.
Right after this trip, she moved to the east coast on the recommendation of her friend Elysa (now the owner of Menagerie Coffee), who she'd met when they were co-workers at a restaurant back in Madison. Nora found an apartment in South Philly, got hired at Elixer Coffee, and settled right in to Philadelphia. In the next few years, she tried a few different jobs out, including some other cafe jobs, and a stint working as a line cook at Resurrection Ale House, a fine craft beer bar in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood. She had never worked in a professional kitchen and said it was a pretty stressful experience, though she learned a lot, including technical skills and "how to multitask to the extreme."
These days, she's working at HubBub and living in a studio apartment in Fitler Square with her boyfriend Brian. Brian also used to work as a professional chef and they both like to cook, especially Mexican food. Nora fancies herself a baker, though she says, "I’m not really a good baker - I don’t really measure anything!" She did have a recent baking victory with homemade English muffins. When not cooking up a storm, she and Brian snuggle with their cat Nala, who they adopted from City Kitties.
Nora works a second part time job at an after school program at a charter school in South Philly, part of a children's education organization called Watoto. She enjoys working with the grades 3-6 kids, and says that perhaps a career in education is in her future. However, she doesn't relish the idea of being in charge of a big class - she much prefers working one-on-one with kids, and is thinking that a job in special education may be her calling.
As far as coffee goes, she says: "I love working in coffee shops. It's a good combination of actually making a product and getting to interact with customers. Somehow I always come back to coffee shops. I've done other jobs, but I always go back to coffee." She likes all kinds of coffee, though she's more of a "pour over black coffee girl" than into espresso, and is particularly excited about the Stumptown Peru Cecovasa beans on the 3LS coffee menu now. "I've never tasted anything like it," she says. "It's got a super citrus flavor!"
Nora made us a pour over of the Peru Cecovasa, which was a pleasure to watch. She posseses the confidence of someone who has done a certain physical task hundreds (thousands?) of times - equal parts careful and casual, fluidly executing the motions with an easy grace. We are so lucky to have her on our team!