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.
Every good ship needs a captain, and the skipper for the S.S. HubBub is our General Manager Erica. Erica has been part of the crew since the early days of our first brick and mortar shop at 3 Logan Square, and over the years has become such a valuable part of our team, we can't even imagine what we'd do without her. She is the wearer of many hats, sender of many emails, and maker of amazing lattes.
Erica is originally from Franklinville, NJ, but has taken a circuitous route to get from South Jersey to Philadelphia. In high school, Erica did that thing that so many of us dream of but never got to do: spend the entire summer living and working at the beach. This is no Jersey Shore tale of debauchery: she claims that she was a very wholesome adolescent, and spent most of her time working at a surf shop in Wildwood, NJ, teaching surfing lessons, and hitting the waves on her own time.
After high school, Erica attended Rutgers University where she double majored in Art History and Photography. Her main focus was photo history and archiving, and after graduating in 2007 she interned at the International Center of Photography on the Vishniac Archive for four years. Throughout that time, she worked at a coffee shop to support herself, which gave her the first tiny inkling that she might want to pursue a career in coffee.
"The cafe where I worked didn't really care about coffee," Erica says. "I really wanted to learn more and work with coffee at a higher level." This drive to educate herself and elevate her coffee game is part what led her to a five month travel adventure in Central America in the Spring of 2011. She spent one month in Panama, two months in Honduras in Capucas (Copan), and continued traveling with some new friends to Guatemala and Mexico. While staying in Honduras, she lived and worked on a coffee farm, where she saw the ins and outs of the agricultural side of the coffee business. She says this had a huge influence on how she viewed coffee and helped her to remember all the labor it took to bring coffee from origin to the US.
When she returned to the States in 2001, she moved to Austin, Texas. "I thought I should try living somewhere else besides New Jersey!" she says. She picked a heck of a time to move to Texas, though: it was a sweltering summer, over 75 straight days of 100+ degree temperatures. She soon settled in to her new home, though, and found a job at Juan Pelota Cafe (owned by professional cyclist Lance Armstrong), located inside Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop.
"Working in coffee, I realized I loved talking and interacting with people," Erica says. "I like helping people have a good morning and being social." Juan Pelota was one of Stumptown's first accounts in Texas, and Erica got to know some of their staff pretty well. When she decided to return to the East Coast, the good folks at Stumptown put her in touch with Drew, who promptly hired her to work for HubBub. The rest, as they say...
Of working for and growing at HubBub, Erica says: "I started as a barista getting to know and grow in a brand new shop, then I got to hire, train and work with new awesome people at West and Radnor. Now I'm starting to look at the events side of things, which is an even new group of people to connect with. I'm pumped! I also really love drinking coffee." Erica's go-to coffee is espresso, though she loves all kinds of coffee.
She and her boyfriend currently live in the Newbold neighborhood in Philly. Erica is one of those people who self describes as "loving to work," but in her off time, she practices yoga at Wake Up Yoga, cooks a bunch, and spends time with her ridiculously cute dog, Herbie. They rescued him a few months ago and it's been a total love fest ever since.
Thank you so much for all you do, Erica!