Boss Barista Is Evolving—Here's How
On art, pivots, and one big ol' ask.
When I co-founded Boss Barista as a podcast in 2017, I was really frustrated. At the time, my co-host Jasper and I knew we wanted to start a project where we could explore topics we weren’t hearing about elsewhere—the kinds of topics we were regularly discussing with our friends and co-workers, like stagnant wages, how to handle aggressive customers, and the emotional labor of service work.
Five years ago, the coffee media landscape seemed so narrow to us that we were motivated to tackle as much as we could (and we did, even if that was sometimes to the detriment of giving each topic its deserved attention).
In 2022, both everything and nothing have changed. I’m flying solo, and I’ve incorporated my writing work into the podcast. I launched this newsletter in 2019 after closing out six years—three as the online editor—with Barista Magazine. Where I’ve changed the most is how I think about the content of this platform.
In this week’s podcast episode, I interviewed Bianka Alloyn and Sabreen Naimah of Cute Coffee. Bianka and Sabreen use Cute Coffee as a nexus for all their creative endeavors, and we discussed how they approach putting out their work:
Bianka: That’s definitely an artist’s mindset, you pick something up, you start making something and you might not finish that project, and then you move on to another one or you started a project and it’s like, “Oh, I thought this was for this, but actually it’s for this.”
I’ve never been able to completely define what Boss Barista is. But what I have defined—and left to evolve over time—is how I approach the subjects I discuss, and the people I interview. I did a lot of self-imposed people-pleasing when I first started, which meant I tried to cover topics I thought others wanted to read about or listen to.
But as I’ve gotten more comfortable with my own voice, I realized that the more I looked inward, the more relatable the stories were to other people. More than ever, Boss Barista feels like it’s growing and adapting in step with me.
That brings me to today’s announcement about the latest phase of Boss Barista’s evolution:
💡 I am turning on the “paid” option for this newsletter 💡
Below, I’m answering questions about what this means for Boss Barista’s readers.
What do I need to do next?
If you’re like, “Cool, I’m sold and I’d like to give you money”: Please click the button above to become a paid subscriber.
If you’re like, “Yeah, this is a nice place, but I don’t have the money to pay / I don’t engage with this newsletter enough to pay”: Please scroll to the end of this post.
If you’re thinking about paying for a subscription but need to know more: Keep reading because I have lots to tell you!
Why are you going paid? 💰
An important note: Everything I write will still be free! The podcast and articles will always be available to all subscribers, no matter what.
I’ve held off adding a paid option until now because it filled me with anxiety, but I invest so much into Boss Barista. I spend several days a week on the podcast and written content, and I also work with some amazing folks to help polish and put together everything that goes out to subscribers. Over and over, I tell others to honor and value their work, and now I need to practice what I preach.
Why now? 🗓️
Before the first version of Boss Barista launched, we worked in stealth mode for months. We kept pushing back our release date because we’d find new hurdles or mistakes to work through. Eventually, we just set a random deadline—February 1, 2017—and said we’d start publishing episodes no matter what.
This is operating in that same spirit.
I’m also eager to consolidate all the different websites and platforms Boss Barista exists on, so this is my attempt at doing so—and there’s no time like the present.
One note: If you are a Patreon subscriber, please feel free to do what’s best for you! I’ll keep the Patreon open, but I admit I am very bad at maintaining it. (If you haven’t received a promised goodie or freebie, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will send you extra to rectify my mistake.)
What are the different subscription options?
If you’re a free subscriber: You’ll get pretty much all the same stuff you got before (though if you want to be part of the private threads and video content, please send me an email and we can work something out).
If you’re a $6 per month (or $70 per year) subscriber: You will get access to monthly discussion threads where we can talk about coffee topics, and where you can ask me questions (How do I brew with a Chemex at home? Which coffee shops do you like in X city? Why is my grind size weird?). I’ll also make videos of some basic (but sometimes overlooked) coffee how-tos.
If you’re a founding member: You can select whatever amount you’re comfortable with. Your contribution supports the rest of the platform and allows it to remain free and available for all. I’ll also aim to arrange a one-on-one time with you to see how you’d like to interact with the newsletter.
Bottom line: There are so many ways you can support Boss Barista.
If I asked you to scroll to the end, here it is—the end!
Monetary support is one element of Boss Barista’s next phase, but it’s not the only one. What energizes me is hearing from you.
Lately, my posts have gotten more comments and likes, and I cannot express how important and affirming that is, and how much I value that dialogue. Thank you to everyone who shows up, and please do keep commenting, liking, and sharing your stories—it means the world to hear from you.