A Great Barista, Lost

Brian Fairbrother—one of the longest-time barista fixtures in Seattle—died on Thursday after sustaining head injuries in a bike accident that occurred on August 30. A barista with Vivace since 1989, Brian was beloved by many, from both the industry and consuming side of specialty coffee, and will be sorely missed.

Brian Fairbrother (photo by Christopher Nicely Abel Alameda, in The Seattle Times)

“He created a balanced organization to counter my impulsiveness,” Vivace co-owner David Schomer told the Seattle Times in a recent article. “If I had a good training with somebody, I’d give them a raise. Brian said, ‘You can’t do that. You have to be very systematic.’ ”

David Schomer co-owns Vivace with Geneva Sullivan. When Schomer and Sullivan divorced a few years ago, they made Fairbrother a shareholder because they were confident he could be a fair voice of reason if there were any future business disagreements.

“He was so perfectly trustable,” Sullivan told The Seattle Times. “When Brian said something to you, it was a very kind honesty, but you knew you were getting the story. You never had to read between the lines with the man.”

Fairbrother sustained head injuries during a bike accident on August 30 in Seattle. Customers, co-workers, friends, Schomer and Sullivan, will miss him dearly. And the barista community as a whole, has lost a role model. Rest in peace, Brian.

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.