A Director of "Coffee Education" learns the city isn't dangerous.
How long have you lived in Milwaukee and why did you choose to move here?
I moved to Milwaukee in 2008 for Post-Graduate work on a master’s degree in philosophy (insert liberal arts meets coffee job joke). It was never my intention to stay here for the long term – I had this early conception of Milwaukee as a large and dangerous city (from my days growing up about an hour to the north); that changed after living here for about a month. There are so many different neighborhoods for someone new to explore – and, in reality, this city is not so big that you get lost. There are so many things to do and see that it took hold of me. I also ended up working with a great company (Stone Creek Coffee Roasters), and there’s nothing better than looking forward to going into work everyday
What about Milwaukee makes it a city you want to work and play?
I love the different neighborhoods in Milwaukee – it always makes me want to go and explore. If I’m craving awesome food, I tend to head over to the Walker’s Point. If I’m meeting friends out, I’m usually down in Bay View grabbing a craft beer. And I wander into places like West Allis, Wauwatosa, Greenfield, and so forth when I’m looking for something a little different – and often leave having some awesome food. There is just such a rich culture of neighborhoods that it just makes someone want to go out and be part of it. Look at all of the neighborhood festivals – it’s an awesome thing.
What is your favorite Milwaukee event?
I’m a sucker for music events. Summerfest comes to mind first – the dynamic of city almost changes for that week. Tourists in, people are out and about, the city comes alive. The music is good too. Also, when you realize how much awesome culture is around – we have so many great venues to see live music and have interesting performers come to this city. It’s a huge opportunity that is often overlooked. I am often asking myself “Why don’t I get out to see more shows?”
What is one thing about Milwaukee you’d like to see change?
I am a fan of cities that have a well-developed system of public transportation. I see many Milwaukee people too reliant on their own cars. For me, it is not just an ecological thing, but also a community thing. If you’re battling traffic on the highway, odds are you’re in a position against someone versus traveling with other people. It’s less stressful. It’s reliable. Moreover, it would give people an easier ability to be out and to explore if they can quickly and efficiently hop on a rail to another part of town.
What do you do?
My official title is Director of Coffee and Coffee Education. It sounds really formal – but in truth, I’m just a coffee slinging barista and coffee geek who gets to do a few more things on the side (at least that’s how I see it). I have the opportunity to work with amazing coffee, visit origin countries, develop roast profiles, create awesome products, and help develop coffee culture with my coworkers.
Recent NEWaukeeans of the Week
People: Christian Ott
Neighborhood(s): Bay View, Walker’s Point