When the idea of writing an essay for the Starbucks magazine on my own experience of working as a barista at Starbucks in Edinburgh years ago and what it meant for me was proposed, I agreed to it immediately, but at the same time felt unable to form the words for my thoughts which were overwhelming. That episode of my life meant too many things. So, I thought the right process to approach this topic would be to put my own memories and feelings aside and begin the project by interviewing the other baristas included in this issue and writing their stories.
Working as a barista as my first full-time job out of university was due to my choice and circumstances at the time, bearing that thought I was thinking, “Who are these people? Why are they working as baristas? What are their aspirations in life? And where will their futures lead them?”
I met and spoke to Starbucks baristas of a variety of backgrounds and ages in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Wenzhou, who each had their own tale to tell about what it is like to be a barista at Starbucks and what it means for them. By the time I finished writing their stories, I had the answer (or one version of the answer) to my question about myself. I am most grateful that I worked as a barista during the formative years of my life.
106 George Street will always hold a dear place in my heart, and I dedicate this special issue of The Bean Tales—Barista to all my Starbucks mates in Edinburgh, as well as friends who were also struggling to find their place in life but always had a good laugh about it. Without them, this little publication would not be the same. Without this experience, I would not be who I am today.
Photography: Allen Xu
A digital version of the Barista issue of The Bean Tales (in Chinese ) can be download here.