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 Cafe 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, Madison Hartman, AKA “Sparkles”, our Assistant Manager & Barista tells us about herself and why she is now so passionate about working in the world of specialty coffee.
| By Madison Hartman |
Growing up in Seattle I was no stranger to coffee and the heavenly aroma that fills the room when freshly brewed. Looking back, this was very likely the catalyst that drove me to pursue becoming a barista, which for living in Seattle coffee country was not as easy as you might think unless you wanted to work for Starbucks. I have nothing against Starbucks, other than it has a very corporate feeling, and I saw myself better suited to work for a smaller independent shop where I could spend more time cultivating my skills as a barista and giving a more personal touch to the drinks I was creating.
After moving to San Diego in September 2015, I noticed a very vibrant coffee culture and began visiting many of the independent coffee shops and roasters around town until I discovered Cafe Virtuoso. I walked in and immediately felt at ease. No snobbery and no judgement for wanting to order a sweet coffee drink as I’ve experienced in other third-wave coffee shops.
Mary, the barista helping me that day, and now one of my very close friends, suggested I order a “virtuous woman”, and I couldn’t believe how wonderful it was. It was the best coffee I had ever tasted. That was when I knew I had to be a part of this place. Happily and very excited, I applied for position and was hired two months later.
Training with Savannah was amazing and intense, and subsequently when I was sent to SCA Barista Camp to work on my Level 1 certification, much of it was a breeze because the incredible comprehensive training I had already received from Café Virtuoso left me feeling fully prepared.
After experiencing Barista Camp, I dove even more into the world of specialty coffee and know that it’s where I want to build my lifelong career. Until then, I had no idea that there was such an immense coffee culture. So much love, care and precision goes into it. To be a skilled barista there are so many rules and so many things to know and so many of those things that someone can easily get wrong. It’s a constant challenge, more than most people realize or understand, but it’s also super exciting and very rewarding.
Despite all the rules of knowing how to properly prepare coffee, as this industry continues to evolve, there is also so much room for creativity. That’s what I love. Coffee people are extremely inventive and passionate about what they do, and I am proud to say that I feel the same way. I’m ecstatic to continue my training and education and also continue to teach others who are eager to learn the art and science of becoming a professional barista.
Favorite drink: Espresso shot of Café Virtuoso’s single origin Perla Negra.
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A natural-born coffee lover and native of Seattle, Madison, also fondly known as “Sparkles” for her fun and cheerful style and disposition, joined the Cafe Virtuoso team in November of 2015. She plays a vital role by helping to manage the cafe, maintain quality standards and train new staff members — always with a smile.