How Do You Spell “Community?” C-O-F-F-E-E:
How Julia Behlendorf Discovered That a Career in Coffee is Not About Commission and Pay but Connection and Purpose
“I’m trying every day to appreciate each cup of coffee – paying attention to a perfect brew, serving with a smile…”
Imagine earning a comfortable living in a fast-growing industry with benefits like traveling at will and the flexibility to move around, even to an entirely different country. Now imagine giving that all up to work for a local small business because that’s your passion and it connects you to others from all walks of life.
Most people would not be willing to embark on such a journey. Julia Behlendorf is not like most people. She is a barista with a passion for coffee and a heart for bringing joy into the lives of others. Julia decided that a career stuck in her home office behind a computer screen was not the life that she wanted, so she quit her marketing job to pursue a career in coffee. It didn’t matter that she had little experience and was risking a big deduction in pay.
The cute little coffee shop in her neighborhood was a safe haven, filled with aromas from the specialty coffee brews and the chit and chatter of conversation between new and old friends alike. Julia knew that Roast Coffee is where she belonged, so she inquired about employment, and two days later, she was a barista.
She doesn’t regret her decision one bit. For almost two years, she has continued to grow in her knowledge of coffee and her respect for those in the industry.
“Making customers smile by serving them a great cup every day is such a nice feeling, and knowing that the farmers get paid fairly and can keep producing that coffee that we enjoy again tomorrow makes me even happier.”
For her, “coffee people” are not just farmers, supply-chain vendors, and baristas; they are “a heartwarming and welcoming community where no one is excluded.” Perhaps, that’s why she doesn’t miss her corporate job or even the pay associated with it. She much rather work in a place that makes her happy and treats everyone in the chain fairly and respectfully.
“Success is something you’ve achieved that makes YOU happy and satisfied, such as a personal goal you reached – this is success.”
Her work as a dedicated, knowledgeable, and kind barista is what makes her happy as she brings joy to others by serving them the perfect brew with a smile. One moment that stood out to her as positive confirmation of her career switch is when a local man asked her about her background in marketing and still told her that she made the right decision because she is good at what she does. Not that she needed that, but of course, just like everyone else, she wants a career filled with meaning and purpose.
She has found that as a barista for Roast Coffee. She was even able to convince her parents to switch from commodity to specialty coffee without even using words. She just served them unique and flavorful beans from farmers all over the world, and they were hooked.
Of course, life as a barista is not all flavorful aromas and delicious brews; there are some challenges such as climate change, rising prices, and consumer behavior, but Julia Behlendorf is determined to see the bright side. She finds inspiration in the many hardworking farmers growing and harvesting coffee against conditions that threaten their livelihood and the industry they love. Daily, she stares at the small cherry tree in her coffee shop to remind her of them and their work, and she is appreciative.
“There’s no right or wrong when it comes to a good cup of coffee…As long as you enjoy that coffee and appreciate the work behind it – it’s your perfect cup of coffee.”
Because of their work and the work of many coffee people from around the world, she not only can enjoy the perfect cup of coffee, but she can also follow her passion and make a difference in her community and the world.