Doris - 1951 Coffee Graduate Series

Doris - 1951 Coffee Graduate Series

person sitting in front of a wooden wallBehind coffee, there is a blood story. The Haitian Revolution. Ethiopian land grabbing. 

Knowing and recognizing this, I’m committed to ensuring my coffee journey doesn’t perpetuate more harm, but supports small farmers so they have a piece of the economic power that fuels the $100 billion coffee industry. 

I grew up in Quintana Roo, Mexico. As a kid, I was a total introvert. All I wanted to do was read books on Psychology and watch the news with Carmen Aristegui three times a day. I got a bachelor’s degree in Pedagogy only to realize it was difficult teaching kids who were the same height as me, because they didn’t take me seriously, haha!

I hadn’t planned on coming to America. My only knowledge about this country was what I’d seen on TV. I’d heard about cities like San Francisco, New York City, Sacramento, and Washington D.C. and the only Americans I’d seen were those who came as tourists to Cancun. I was nervous coming to America…I didn’t know what to expect and didn’t know how long I was going to be here. But I wanted to start new things in my life, which I was excited about.

My first job in America was in the Napa wine industry. Because I didn’t have American work experience and didn’t know English, I started at the very bottom and worked very hard to move up. What I loved about working in the wine industry was the fermentation process. But being a woman and “immigrant,” it was very hard to get better pay or a promotion. 

When I was doing community outreach with OLAS (a nonprofit support group for LGBTQ individuals from Latin America) a friend who works with OLAS and East Bay Sanctuary Covenant mentioned 1951 Coffee’s Barista Training Program to me. I was curious because I love drinking espresso, but had no idea how to make it. So I signed up!

When I started the Barista Training Program, I was fascinated with making coffee, especially espressos, my favorite coffee beverage. When I heard the history of coffee in class, it was AMAZING!  

person in front of wooden wall with plantsNow, I’m teaching others about coffee by leading tastings at The Crown in Uptown Oakland. I’m still working on developing my palate and because I learn through action, I’m busy roasting, cupping, roasting, cupping as a way to develop my palate, but also deepen my understanding of the coffee process. At The Crown, we have so many types of coffee, so I have an amazing opportunity to learn. My barista skills are getting better everyday, but what’s most important to me is bettering my customer service skills because that’s how I get to connect with people. 

For my future, I see myself on a coffee plantation in Chiapas learning to ferment coffee. My favorite part of working in Napa was fermenting the grapes, and I want to learn to ferment coffee too. There are SO many avenues to be in the coffee industry! I didn’t know that before taking the Barista Training Program.

Coffee was removed from its birthplace (Africa) and now it’s everywhere. Now people are happy when they drink that first cup of coffee. I want everyone reading this to know: not everyone wants to leave their birthplaces…it happens because of economics, politics…it’s because their lives were miserable. When we move, we are making places better because we’re building and contributing our culture to this new culture. As immigrants/refugees we bring good things to our new homes.