In a story that is particularly touching, we have decided to share a minorly edited version of the application form that was submitted to us. This week’s donation will be given to Xitlally Guerrero, a barista who has continued to learn despite serious hurdles thrown in her direction. In the last few months, Xitlally has been confronted by some difficult events. She was in a motorcycle accident with her already injured boyfriend in May 2021, and has since been a victim of armed robbery in her place of work. Having to use some of the money she had been preciously saving to purchase a new phone and watch, she has struggled to feel peaceful or rested since. We are mostly inspired by her resilience, as she sets out to continue learning and refuses to let her past interfere with her plans for the future!
Read her story, in her own words, below…
“My coffee journey has been filled with constant effort and hardship –
It started when I first encountered an espresso machine. This was some six years ago. I used to work in a restaurant and while I wasn’t in charge of operating the espresso machine, my curiosity got the best of me and I started to learn more and more by watching it work on a daily basis.
Later on, I started to look for a job in a coffee shop. This is where I got the chance to acquire a more hands-on learning experience, and I was thrilled by the opportunity to experiment in the coffee world. After I left that job, I paid for my first barista course with the compensation money I had received; that way I would be more prepared for a barista job and hence, be able to ask for a better salary.
It wasn’t easy. I had not learned enough and had to settle for a smaller paycheck at an independent coffee shop. This is where I was taught all of my brewing skills. Since then, I have preferred brewing methods over espresso. I love the idea of being able to brew coffee manually and without needing technology, I began experimenting with grind sizes, temperatures, different coffee origins and varieties; coffee became a science for me.
Every payday, I would split my salary in half: the first was to pay for my high school degree, and the other half I put into savings in order to buy coffee books and pay for more barista courses. I was lucky enough to be able to pay for my high school. After being rejected entry to college, I took on another barista role. I was working two full jobs and that is how I managed to pay for my latte art course first, and a brew bar course later on. I was able to start paying for my college tuition in Business Administration but had to drop out halfway through because I couldn’t afford it anymore.
I took a higher paying job at a specialty coffee shop in order to start saving for my studies once again. However, that job wasn’t what I was expecting. I was the barista in charge and found that too many things were expected of me, especially given my title and pay grade. I was expected to leave my personal life behind in order to commit to the job. The job was challenging my anxiety, and I felt extremely low whilst working there – I did not want to quit because I was saving money for my college tuition and my SCA certification.
After two gruelling years, I was able to pay for my SCA certification and I have since found another employment opportunity. I currently have two barista jobs as I am saving funds in order to enter a barista competition in my home country, Mexico. I now hope that I can continue learning and training in order to be able to represent Mexico in a barista competition, but also to financially support myself and my partner throughout both our physical and emotional recovery journeys. Thank you.”
Although this is but a tip, we hope it will help Xitlally advance in her difficult situation and feel supported as a barista. To help us help others, please make sure to keep up with our social media pages and read about the Brewing Guide.