I’m super sad to be saying farewell to my dear old friend, Stephen Vick, in one week. Stephen and I have been pals forever—at least in coffee industry time. We met back in 2002 when I was an editor at another coffee magazine, and then worked together for a year when I moved to Seattle to do communications work for Zoka, where Stephen was a barista trainer. We had a blast in Seattle, and then he got a job at Stumptown in Portland at the same time that Ken and I decided to jump into the crazy idea of starting a little something called Barista Magazine. This was all in the fall of 2004. Ken and I always planned to eventually move back to Portland, so we did, and Stephen crashed on our couch for a while until he found a rental.
Ken and I plugged away at Barista Magazine while Stephen worked at Stumptown, and then later for Sustainable Harvest, the Portland-based importing company that sent Stephen to Tanzania to oversee coffee production at a co-op. Then Stephen got cerebral malaria and almost died—yeah, that was a pretty awful time. Then he got better and went back to Tanzania. Then his job ended at Sustainable, and he started doing contract work for Intelligentsia in East Africa, working on the ground with Intelli’s exports in Rwanda and Burundi and Ethiopia.
And now Intelligentsia has hired Stephen to work as the national quality control guy, and so Stephen’s moving to Chicago. In a week.
Before he goes, he’s got an art show going up of a series of portraits he took of coffee people young and old whom he met during his various trips to East Africa. There will be an opening party at the Red E Cafe in Portland on Friday at 7. Be there.