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.” Emily C., a barista at our 3 Logan Square shop, is a relative newcomer to Philadelphia - she moved here just this past June. Before that, she lived in Asbury Park, NJ, playing in a recreational roller derby league and working in the kitchen of a vegan restaurant and juice bar called From Seed to Sprout. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the area hard and changed her life. The hurricane forced her out of her house, so she couch surfed and lived out of the trunk of her car for three months. Then, she says, "I got an apartment that I couldn’t really afford and then I ran out of money...so I moved to Philly."
You'd think someone telling this story might be sad or down about it, but Emily has a cheeky, lighthearted air to her, and was totally at ease while sharing this part of her life with us. And it seems like Philly has been good to her: HubBub was the first place to hire her, and she already had a group of friends in the Philly Roller Girls, the local women's roller derby organization that she's been skating with for a few years (she used to commute three times a week from Asbury Park for practice - that's dedication!). She had also spent some time in the Philly are a few years ago, when she was a student in Drexel University's Hospitality Management program, so she was already pretty familiar with the city.
Outside of work, the Roller Girls is Emily's major passion. She is a jammer (for more on roller derby definitions and rules, see here) for Philly's Travel B team. In addition to playing games at home, her team hits the road for tournaments, such as a recent trip to Eugene, Oregon where they played New York, Portland, Atlanta, and other Top 10 rated B teams. And while she's a pretty chill lady behind the bar, she says that she loves the competitiveness of the sport. We think she seems like a fierce one on the track.
Her fascination with Roller Derby began when she watched the movie Whip It. She says, "I was like 'Whoa, this is cool!' I Googled Roller Derby, found out it was real. At first I thought the girls were so badass, and then I went to a game, and saw that they’re normal human beings. They invited me to play! I thought if they can do, it I can do it too." Inspired, Emily bought a pair of skates and headed to the roller rink in her old NJ neighborhood where the older folks there taught her how to skate. Then she went to a Fresh Meat training and tryout session held by the Roller Girls, where newer skaters learn how to fall and take a hit, "without dying," as Emily puts it. A few years and a slew of battle wounds later, she's a certified badass too.
As far as HubBub goes, Emily says she's really into the job. Her favorite part, she says, is interacting with customers and getting to know the regulars. "When I look at the line I think 'Hey, I know all these people,' and that’s so cool. And I love getting to hear their different stories...we get such a wide variety of people coming in." This is her first coffee shop job, and she's just learning the ropes of the espresso machine and the intricacies of espresso. But she says the new challenges that she faces each day keep things interesting.
As a coffee drinker, she is partial to coffees from Ethiopia, and likes how bright and floral they become when prepared via Chemex pour over.
Perhaps by now you've noticed that Emily has a tattoo...on her scalp. Yep, she's got a head tattoo! She has lots of other tattoos as well, most of which aren't visible when she's wearing sleeves and pants. The head tatt was originally meant to stay hidden under her thick hair. "But then it came out really awesome and I haven’t grown my hair out because I want to show it off!" she says. Of course, we had to ask about the pain factor. She reports that the area near her temple hurt a whole lot, but that the rest of it wasn't so bad. We wonder if maybe her pain threshold is unusually high due to all her Roller Derby experience...
She has another tattoo that's visible: a teeny portrait of her cat Fiona on her right index finger. She says she loves her cat but admits that she is totally obnoxious. Her friends joke that she should be on that show My Cat From Hell! But that's the great thing about pets, right? You love them even when they're crazy.
It was great getting to learn more about Emily. We can't wait to see her tear it up on the Roller Derby track! She's a super addition to our 3LS team and we look forward to watching her grow as a barista.