Grinders whir, friends chat, business meetings wander off-topic, and the drive-through window opens as an order is taken (not to mention the bakers bustling about making cookies, pastries, and syrups for all three cafes). At the center of all this beautiful chaos is manager Maxwell Morrow.
Maxwell started working at Coffea when he was only 16 years old, so it's safe to say he has literally grown up in the coffee industry. What's kept him in the coffee-game is plain to see:
"I've met a ton of really awesome people both in front and behind the counter. It's meeting those people and hearing their stories that keeps the day to day going. We're all people, both in front of and behind the counter"
Maxwell has spent years understanding the industry from coffee farmers and producers to the makers and technicians behind espresso machines and grinders. Today, he's a manager of the Louise location, but also Coffea's roving mechanical support.
When asked how working at Coffea has been different than he might have expected, he answered, "It’s more scientific than what I had even hoped. There’s more of a chance for me to engage in that way than I expected."
Science and technology have always been of high interest to Maxwell, so engaging in the coffee community by taking apart and reassembling espresso machines is just another way for him to help enhance the coffee experience for his customers.
In the best of worlds, Maxwell is fine-tuning grinders and boilers to operate optimally, but it's those details that make drinks taste so delicious. It's an arduous labor of love, because there's a lot of equipment at each cafe. Each individual piece of equipment has so many ways it might malfunction: it may short out, spring a leak, clog up, or--in very rare instances--blow up. Thankfully, Maxwell genuinely loves the tinkering and technical engineering arts.
While you may not see the time he spends behind the scenes keeping the shops operational, it's a massive role. While the many plates that spin at Louise are often a confluence of action going on behind the counter, Morrow keeps those many different plates moving.
But it's not all about the machines for Maxwell. "What I really enjoy about this job is the community: getting to meet people and talk to people. Getting to know their story and hear --loosely-- about what’s going on in their life." Again and again, he brings up how it's those little conversations that make this job important to him.
"Management has been interesting. I'm responsible for the shop, and I keep it running with routine things like ordering, but more importantly by talking to employees, seeing how things are going, talking to customers, being available."
All that is true, but it's amplified by the sheer volume of customers that walk through the Louise location or use the drive-through. Maxwell laughs as he explains, "That same volume that makes it fun and engaging brings lots of challenges. Being able to keep up with the amount of customers but also attending to all the other tasks that have to go on, I think you really learn that here." He laughs again, adding, "Multitasking. You can't just focus on steaming your milk, you've got to engage customers at the same time. Slow down. Talk to people. It comes back to community. So even though we need to multitask, we’re doing our job right when we make time to hear and connect with people."