Editor’s Note: We love and value each of our team members and are so very blessed to have such a devoted and skilled group of individuals that have contributed so much to make Café Virtuoso what it is today. Therefore, we thought it was high time that you got to know these amazing people with whom you often likely interact. This week, Maricella Lopez, our Café Manager tells us about herself and how she feels about being part of the San Diego craft coffee community.
| By Maricella Lopez |
I’m not sure exactly where it began, but as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a bit of an obsession with coffee and all things related to it. Even after graduating from SDSU with a degree in Economics, a career in coffee was still somehow calling my name. As a self-professed coffee enthusiast (and maybe even an addict), I think there’s definitely a certain special something that a cup of coffee brings to those who love it. It’s that amazing warm feeling that comes over you after taking your first sip that makes you say to yourself, “hey, today’s gonna be alright.”
I grew up in San Diego, just a few miles from Café Virtuoso in Sherman Heights and had been a fan for a few years even before becoming part of the team. My first barista position was at Grant’s Marketplace, which so happens to have Café Virtuoso as its coffee supplier, so all of the training I received was from Café Virtuoso trainers. This allowed me to learn the best habits from the start, and an abundance of essential skills over the five years working there, for which I’m so grateful.
One very significant memory that stands out from my time at Grant’s was first meeting Laurie and working closely with her to taste various types of espresso; she is an excellent trainer and I remember how wonderful it felt to learn from someone with so much passion for coffee and who is so willing to spend the time to teach me how things should be and taste. Naturally, that’s what sparked my interest for wanting to work directly for her at Cafe Virtuoso.
When I’m not working, I love traveling to the Sierras, especially Eastern Sierra. I’m a definitely a city girl at heart, but still love to escape to the country as often as I can to enjoy soaking in all of the beautiful scenery and of course the natural hot springs in that area. I think that’s why San Diego is still the perfect city for me with everything an urban environment has to offer, but still has a feeling of a much smaller town, while also being so close to nature.
I also very much enjoy shopping at thrift stores for clothing and other odds and ends. There’s something special about things from a different time. Each item has an interesting and unique story. I suppose in some ways coffee is very similar. Each type of coffee comes from a different region, has a different method of being processed and therefore has a unique story that is reflected in ultimately how it tastes.
Working for Cafe Virtuoso has been an fantastic experience and has really opened my eyes to even more possibilities that the world of coffee is able to offer me in terms of a career. The entire company really cares about coffee, the products, the service we provide and the customer experience. It’s really wonderful to be part of this family and to share these same values. I don’t think my love and passion for coffee will ever change, except for maybe to grow stronger. I can’t wait to see what this industry has in store for me in the future.
Favorite Coffee Drink: Cappuccino
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After taking a bit of a scenic route to explore her interests during her time studying in college, Marciella, a native San Diegan, graduated from SDSU with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. Having a deep love and passion for coffee for as long as she can remember ultimately led her to a career in coffee beginning as a barista. Now as Cafe Virtuoso’s Office Manager, Maricella ensures customers are continuously satisfied and makes certain standards of quality and service are always met.