I could drink myself to death tonight, I could stand and give a toast. To those who made it out alive, it’s you I’ll miss the most.
There are things I won’t miss: being on my feet all day, inhaling grounds while grinding bar coffee, my wardrobe of weirdly-stained t-shirts, working major holidays. Thankfully, these are outnumbered by any one of a hundred things I love about what I’ve been doing for the last six years. I’ve been fortunate to live in two worlds, straddling the gap between retail and training. I’ve worked the morning rush, made weekly schedules, tracked sales, placed orders, but I’ve also tasted, tasted, taught, examined cappuccinos, stirred espresso, nerded out to the nth degree over some of the finest plants in the world. I’ve been really lucky.
I have no idea what it will be to NOT arrive at this job, to watch a line and calculate how and where to deploy, to keep track of the last condiment check, whether that’s a look of impatience on that woman’s face and should I help out at the bar? or any other the other hundreds of pieces of information that flit across my brain during a day of the office. When I no longer look at a screen and break down the next eight drinks into their component parts for easy assemblage, when I no longer bust out my trusty allen wrenches to lovingly dismantle a grinder, or listen for the calibrated singing of whizzing burrs. When I no longer add to my tasting notes on a daily basis.
There are some things I will continue to make a part of my life. I take with me a belief in the importance of a daily ritual that involves a certain caliber of product, knowledge, and service. It doesn’t have to be in a store, it doesn’t have to be centered around coffee and tea, but I do believe that these daily rituals link us to the wider world. For me, the best moments of the last six years have included the opportunity to show those links, to tell a story, to instigate a pause and a moment of appreciation for something delicious in a cup.
And so, I tell one more story and pause for one more moment of appreciation for those with whom I have enjoyed one of many cups.
Lake Oswego: Jon, Xan, Cayly, Saren, Megan, Sooz. You remain the group against which I have measured all others, a dynamic, wildly diverse and fabulous group of women I am so glad to have been a part of. Thanks for making my first year of adult living truly great, and for convincing me to take the next step in an adventure and move across the country.
Wellesley: Dave, Deidra, Christine, Jamison, Paul, Ali, Hope, Liz, Nat. Thanks for tolerating my stubborn refusal to take the Oregon plates off my car and start to assimilate into East Coast life, for not rolling your eyes too high when I started getting all excited about tea, and for being my first family in a strange new place.
Harvard Square: Ali again, Laura, Boo Boo, Dustin, Vera, Chris, Mike. You were a staff that was just too cool. I like to think I emerged from HSQ a little tougher, but I really just drank a lot more coffee and survived. Thanks for making my earn my stripes and for managing to foster great passion and pride in the midst of occasional chaos.
Brookline: There are so many of you. Hope, Kate R., Patrick, Kris, Jon, Dani, Nicole, Margot, MikeGeaconeBassPlayer, Alex, Charlie, Paul, Joe, Tim, Kenny, Julia, Kate G., Matt, Ben. You are forever my favourites. It’s been a pleasure and privilege to have spent so much time with all of you over the last years, even when you (often) drove me nuts. Because of you all I am proud to be a Brookline Peetnik, and I will miss you guys more than I can say.
Mark and Jon, DMs extaordanaire. I know you two have managed many; please know that this one thinks you both are the bee’s knees. Jon, thanks for setting the best example of how to balance your care for the business with your care for the people involved. Mark, thanks for show tunes, sequins, and continually astounding me with the best good humor and positivity I’ve ever been around. Plus, no one else calls me Roo.
To Sooz, Scott and Mo, especially: you gave me hope. Hope that one day I, too, could be as cool, as knowledgeable, and as passionate as you three. Thank you for giving me an appreciation for the story, the palate, and the details this work inspires. The hours I spent with all of you were hours I carried with me into every class, every training, every specialist meeting and every tasting that came after, and are among my most valuable, loved hours at Peet’s.
The people I’ve met through this work have been some of the weirdest, best, kindest folks and to be a small part of their daily lives is what makes this job as fun and rewarding as it is. So, a big thank you to those who take the time to get to know the folks behind the counter, and to those who have wished me sincerely, genuinely well on my next steps.
Bikers Pete and Jon, soy latte Kathy, rower Jack, Joy who took awhile to actually be Joyful and then became awesome, knitter Megan, Albert and Amy, get-your-tooth-fixed Terry, #1-bean-counter-customer-of-all-time Jack, come-in-later-in-the-day-for-once-Jeff and Ellen, Stephen and Erica, Sencha Mark (bless you, Mark), no-cotton-wearing-part-caff-epsresso Al, Margaret and her husband who love hedgehogs, Mr. Benjamin of the pumpkin bread persuasion, Jon and Lissa, Jo, Suki, iced-latte-Alan, Alina, Randy, John, Lisa Mark and Paul Booksmither, cut-my-hair Dennis, Kona Peter, carpenter Peter, window-fixture-Jeff.
To those I have forgotten, I apologize. It’s a strange kind of blessing to have built so many relationships at this place that I could never concisely list them all here. I hope to have other work in my life where that is the case.
Thanks especially to those who have taken a moment to ask a question–about the day’s espresso, for a bean or leaf recommendation–allowing me to share a little of what I know and love and inspiring me to learn more.
I have loved being a part of your lives.