In Episode 98 of the Orange Cactus Coffee Podcast, Mike and I sat down with Adam Holliefield from Press Coffee at The Porch. While celebrating his 21st birthday, he visited downtown Prescott and hung out with us for a few hours.
Bergies Coffee Roast House. Adam, born and raised in Gilbert, AZ, spent the first two years of his professional coffee journey working at Bergies Coffee Roast House– an award winning coffee house in downtown Gilbert. It was there that his love for all things coffee was kindled- from growing and sourcing to roasting and brewing. His passion for the entire crop to cup experience is very evident.
Press Coffee. When Adam went to ASU to study international trade and import/export, he transitioned to working more in Specialty Coffee as he took a position at Press Coffee. While he loves working at Press, he scopes the Phoenix Coffee Scene as much as he can, with stops at Infusion and Kingdom.
To Infinity and Beyond. Adam’s goals include making a difference in farmer’s lives. While studying global supply chain management, his vision is to be a force for good in the global community. It was great to be around his passion and Mike and I learned a lot about the day to day life of a barista- along with his unique and wise point of view.
Coffee at Home and in the Shop. Adam prefers the unique flavors of the pour over coffee experience- from the clean taste of a Chemex to the full bodied flavor of a Kalita. But when it comes to actually running a busy coffee bar, he believes there’s room for a good batch brew and hopefully a dedicated pour over barista on staff. Because pour overs are easy to mess up, he believes the solution lies in what will give the customer the best experience.
And each coffee community is different. No customers are the same and no customer groups are the same. By taking the time to get to know the community your cafe wants to set up shop in, a caring barista is able to introduce single origin coffees to a opinionated public and perhaps win them to the world of Specialty Coffee. There is a balance between discovering your own identity and providing a service to a community who have their own perception of what a cup of coffee should be.
Drawing similarities to small, local, craft breweries and wineries, Adam considers making yourself part of the community is the key to long term success. This commitment allows the community to make the cafe, in turn, their own.
To tip to not to tip, that is the question. Adam weighed in on the conversation of whether baristas should receive tips or not. We all referenced Cat & Cloud’s model of profit sharing versus low pay and tips. But Adam suggested that long term happiness while working at a coffee shop is less about monetary compensation versus a culture of appreciation and value. Taking the customers perspective, he also argues that the community often times wants to express their gratitude for great service. They do this by tipping. If you remove that from them, they are at a loss. But perhaps the saying ‘Your return business is gratitude enough’ encapsulates his thoughts best.
Brew Tip of the Week. Adam’s Aeropress recipe is 17.5 grams of coffee, ground medium-fine with a 30 second bloom of 50 grams of water heated to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Fill to 220 grams of water and press after 1 minute 45 seconds total brew time. After pressing, add 100 grams of water to total 320 grams of water. After discovering the Aerporess, Adam dedicated himself to daily use for months- a good recipe to get good at anything.
Coffee Shop Environment. Some Third Wave coffee shops intentionally leave outlets off their walls in order to stir up conversation. this causes some friction with customers who view cafes as co-workign spaces where they get their writing, designing, and working done. Referring to other successful shops, Adam suggests that it can be both. But again, it depends on what your community wants.
Thank you, again, to Adam for hanging out with us and talking coffee in a busy coffee shop.
To all of you, a belated Merry Christmas! And Happy New Year!