I’ve done a little bit of everything really. I was a barista/sandwich guy at Bagels & More in Beloit, Wisc., about 15 years ago (yikes). Then I worked for Red Rock Foods in Tempe, Ariz., were I was account rep (we sold allied products to coffee shops). From there I moved to Espression’s Coffee Roastery in Phoenix, Ariz. At Espression’s, I was a production roaster and an account rep. After that, I accepted a position at Anodyne in Milwaukee, Wisc., almost 6 years ago. At Anodyne, I’ve really done it all. For the last few years my focus has been on growing wholesale and brand awareness for the company.
Steve knows his way around a pour over as well as he can wrangle an espresso machine or a roaster. He’s a jack-of-all-trades.
What’s your favorite part about working in coffee?
My favorite part of working in coffee is … well … you, you, you, and you! I love working in an industry where I can be passionate about the product I represent and present it to so many different people. I’ve been a fan of coffee for 18+ years now and am completely humbled that I now find myself in this amazing culture/industry. I get the opportunity to meet so many great people.
As a wholesale rep for Anodyne Coffee in Milwaukee, Steve spends his days talking coffee with customers and baristas, explaining Anodyne’s philosophy of buying, roasting, and serving.
Where do you ideally see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully doing just this. Helping to take wonderful coffee to wonderful people. Also, skinnier.
In case you didn’t know, Steve’s just a fun guy to have around.
Who and what inspires you?
This industry can be full of characters, but also full of mentors if you’re looking for them. I love the growth and progression of Anodyne. As silly as it sounds, it continually inspires me. Matt and Lacee, Anodyne’s owners, have built an amazing company that I am excited to be a part of. Other than them, I have a ton of respect for folks like Tim Chapdelaine [Cafe Imports], Bruce and Matt Milletto [American Barista & Coffee School, and Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup], Jeff Taylor [PT's Coffee], Sarah Allen [Barista Magazine], etc. Tim, for instance, is amazing. I can’t count how many great talks I’ve had with him. I always cherish my time when we are together. Also, Bruce and Matt have always been very kind, just great people. Sarah is well, how do I say this: the MOM of our coffee world. A-MAZ-ING!
What are you drinking right now?
I’m drinking our natural processed Costa Rica La Perla Negra. It’s from Doña Francisca and Don Oscar Chacon in Costa Rica’s Central Valley. We also have the cascara from this crop as well.
Milwaukee’s got a tight barista and coffee community, and Steve is a big part of it.
Crazy coffee experience you’d like to share?
Sadly, no heroic tales here to tell. I have had the privilege to visit farms in other countries, travel around the USA for coffee, and be a part of this amazing coffee culture going on in Milwaukee. I think that’s crazy enough for me.
Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.