10 Minutes With Terika Raak

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Terika Raak
Manager
Caffe Ladro, Capitol Hill location
Seattle, Washington

What other coffee jobs have you had?

I first started in coffee about 10 years ago as a barista at the Nordstrom Espresso Bar in the Southcenter Mall in Tukwila, Washington. I worked there during summer and holiday breaks while I was home from college in Iowa. When I went to grad school in Michigan, I needed a coffee outlet, so I applied to all of the coffee shops within walking distance of my place since I didn’t have a car. JP’s Coffee and Espresso Bar in Holland, Mich., hired me. I started as a cashier and quickly got promoted to barista. After I graduated from grad school, I started working at JP’s full time. They promoted me to assistant manager and I also started working as a trainer for the Midwest Barista School. Eventually they let me create my own job title of Director of Coffee when I was the head trainer at the barista school and in charge of training the baristas for JP’s. A few years ago I moved back to Seattle and Caffe Ladro hired me. I also have the privilege of teaching the latte art classes at Coffee Fest.

Terika with her Northwest barista pals Maxwell Mooney and Brandon Paul Weaver.

Terika with her Northwest barista pals Maxwell Mooney and Brandon Paul Weaver.

What’s your favorite part about working in coffee?

There are two aspects of working with coffee that I absolutely love: the community that you find both within your own shop and the greater coffee community, and the fact that things are constantly changing so there is always something new to learn.

Terika is a newlywed! She and her husband, Ryan, just got married.

Terika is a newlywed! She and her husband, Ryan, just got married.

Where do you ideally see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years I would love to be running my own coffee shop.

Who and what inspires you?

Passionate people inspire me. It doesn’t necessarily matter what people are passionate about or if I share a similar passion. I love seeing the excitement in their eyes as they talk about it. That passion is contagious and it inspires me to dig in deeper to the coffee industry and see what else I can learn.

Terika's is super active: she loves all physical sports from yoga to longboarding.

Terika’s is super active: she loves all physical sports from yoga to longboarding.

What are you drinking right now?

A Chemex of Karani Kenya Kirinyaga from Portola Coffee Lab, a wonderful gift from a barista while I was down to judge for the Big Western.

Crazy/memorable coffee experience you’d like to share?

A memorable coffee experience was when I placed 3rd in the Seattle Coffee Fest latte art competition a few years ago. At the time I was working for JP’s, so to place in a competition in Seattle was such an encouragement to continue and grow in the coffee industry.

Terika with her Coffee Fest Latte Art Championship trophy.

Terika with her Coffee Fest Latte Art Championship trophy.

What do you do when you’re not doing coffee?

Hiking, yoga, longboarding—let’s see what other typical Seattle things I can throw in. I’ve recently been taking some photography classes and I also love traveling.  This past year I went to Ireland and it was amazing! I also have a large immediate family and spending time with them is very important to me.

 

About the Author

Sarah

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.