Do-Overs in Coffee: How to Get a Fresh Start

By Trish Rothgeb

Recently, I was asked to sit on a panel with a handful of other industry people to discuss, “How we got here.” Which apparently meant, as one of my colleagues so insightfully and somewhat facetiously observed, “We must have arrived!”

My response was: “Really? Hey, that’s great!”

The reality was more like this: We five panelists squirmed in our seats, hemmed, hawed, and generally tried to sound wise as we answered questions from a room full of baristas at the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Artisan Coffee Conference in Rhode Island. I don’t know about the others, but it became increasingly apparent to me during the course of this discussion that perhaps I wasn’t the best person to ask about careers—you know, about making A Plan and working The Plan. My career plan has been revised countless times; I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve thought, “Ok, time to start fresh! I’ll do it my way this time!” So, how did I advise the audience when the final question was asked, “Can you tell us what you’re planning to do next?”

To tell you the truth, I botched the answer to that question. As is typical, I thought of a way better answer later that day. So, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to ask for do-overs on the question posed that day.

So, what are you planning to do next?

Well, funny you should ask. My answer is that I AM starting fresh and doing it my way. Along with co-conspirator, Nicholas Cho, I am attempting to create the kind of coffee company I always wished I could work for, a concept that I have unwittingly been formulating for almost 20 years now. To read the rest of this article, subscribe to The Chronicle or become a member today! If you’re already a Chronicle subscriber or member, please login.

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