We’ve got a new position filled by a familiar face - allow us to introduce our new Community Educator, Maddie!
You may recognize her from behind the bar - Maddie joined us at CREMA just over a year ago, four years after moving to Nashville from Chicago. After working as a barista and shift lead for a year, Maddie found herself wanting to get involved with CREMA in new and varied ways, which led to this perfect match…
Q1: Maddie! It’s exciting to see you taking on new territory for CREMA - when did you get started in coffee and how did it lead you to us?
Maddie: I got interested in specialty coffee in high school and through the years I began to look for new ways to expand my knowledge and become better at home brewing. I moved to Nashville and my mom gifted me a coffee class at CREMA as a “welcome to Nashville!” gift. I loved the experience and CREMA quickly became my favorite shop in town. I took a job at another local coffee shop where I was the general manager for two years; while I learned so much through that experience, my ultimate goal was to end up at CREMA. When deciding to work in coffee, I needed more of a reason than “I’m working at a cool coffee shop” - I was drawn to CREMA because not only have they pushed standards from day one, but they also take care of their people and prioritize creating a sustainable work environment. I wanted to work for a shop that had integrity in everything they do.
Q2: What motivated you to get involved with CREMA beyond the standard barista responsibilities?
I happily jumped on board as barista and then a few months later took on more responsibilities as a shift lead. After a year here, I found myself wanting to be more of a part of CREMA, but I didn’t want to be in management again. Around that time was when Ben + Rachel presented the opportunity to staff for this new role as Community Educator. I read the job description and it clicked immediately. To be able to still engage with customers, but to do so in an intimate setting rather than across the counter, was ideal. I loved that it was a new position so it had no previously established structure - it could become what I wanted it to become. When I went in to teach my first class, I wasn’t nervous, but I thought “I’m fully in this now...what if I don’t like it?” All it took was for people to walk in the door and I knew - I already love this. This is right where I’m meant to be.
Q3: What do you love about this position and what do you envision for it, moving forward?
I love teaching the classes because even if I’m teaching the same material, every class dynamic is drastically different based on who is in the class. It leaves me energized every time.
Looking ahead, I want to continue to develop new classes and curriculum and allow the public to influence those decisions. I want the role to be an outlet for the public. If you want coffee education, I want it to be transparent for you. Great coffee is not a mystery. Just because we do this one thing well doesn’t mean that you can’t do it well. You can learn the intricacies of coffee without having to work in a shop. The material we use in class is exactly how we train our baristas behind the scenes, just abbreviated! We’re here to continue the conversations, offer resources, and more.
*Sign up here to take a community coffee class with Maddie or schedule a private session!*
Get to Know Maddie:
Hobbies: Being outside. Maddie enjoys rock climbing (a lot…like 5 days a week, 2-3 hours every day), hanging out with her pup Willow, bike riding both for fun (Shelby Bottoms Greenway is right by her home) and as a responsible commuter.
Favorite drink at CREMA: Almond/Coconut Cortado
Favorite day-off brewing equipment: “My go-to is always Chemex.”