When it comes to being thankful for the simple things in life, most of us have a short list of things that come to mind. For me: Food.. clothes.. family.. low humidity.. and coffee. Coffee is one of those simple things that just makes life better. And if the current rise in artisan coffee consumption is any indicator, I believe most of us would agree.
I started drinking coffee about four years ago with the help of large portions of milk and sweeteners. Coffee was one of those drinks that no one really liked on its own. Besides the crazies. Kind of like vodka I guess? This perception changed about two years ago when one of my close friends became a barista at a new local coffee spot. As I began to hang out and ask him about the things he was learning, he began to educate me about coffee and its nuances. Through this process he weened me off all my milk and sugar, and challenged me to continue learning how to appreciate each coffee by itself (black). As I began to develop a liking to black coffee, he continued to educate me on how coffee is made and the different processes that each bean goes through before it’s brewed and served.
This process of education and consumer appreciation is Arian’s passion. I spent some time on a muggy Monday evening to interview Arian in what will be the first artist profile featured here. I hope this post and future posts of this nature serve their purpose in inspiring and encouraging you to enjoy life and pursue your passions.
I’ve included the conversation audio below.
First Arian, just a quick intro… name, age, your occupation, some heritage stuff… just go into a little bit about yourself.
Arian: My name is Arian Pinedo, I’m 20 years old. I’m a Directer of Operations and Director of Coffee at a local artisan coffee shop called the Bean Bar. I’ve been in the industry for about 2 years now, and have been around coffee for about 4-5 years. Overall it’s pretty awesome. As far as heritage goes, I grew up in Chicago, IL, and my mom is Puerto Rican.. so I guess that makes me Puerto Rican.
So how do you classify yourself? We just got your intro, but if you were to explain who you are and not just your job description, how would you classify yourself?
Arian: I would classify myself as an explorer. Whether that means diving into new things or seeking things I’m already in at a deeper level. I’d also classify myself as an artisan. I believe in things being done in a way that ever so slightly magnifies the beauty of the thing. Whether it’s leather or coffee… I believe that’s a lifestyle that shapes me and describes who I am.
Is there anything that influenced you in developing into classifying yourself as an explorer or an artisan. Was there a friend or something that influenced or encouraged that?
Arian: I guess my mother always telling me to pursue what I love and pursue what I believe makes me happy. I think because of that, my mom has really molded the person I am today. Without her really pushing me to go after what I love and explore the things I love to explore now, I don’t think I’d be the same person I would be. And obviously I’ve had a couple friends that’ve pushed me to explore other things. I would say friends have a lot of input on it as well.
So why do you do what you do? Not coffee in general as your job, but as far as being an explorer and artisan and pursuer of quality things. How did that become the forefront thing in your life? What makes you wake up and want to try new things and magnify the beauty of simple things and do quality work?
Arian: Things that take time have a story and adventure behind them.
“I think that quality is something that can be taught and not bought.”
Whether it’s introducing something to someone being coffee related or whatever it may be, I believe that quality is something that can’t be bought but needs to be shown to someone. In coffee alone, the artisan industry is the experience I get to introduce to people. Living in northern Virginia, people are used to robotic coffee shops like Starbucks. And trying to break away from that and show someone, this is why we pull an espresso for 45 or 35 seconds and have a yield of 25 seconds. And to explain to them why and to taste that, and to understand what I just did puts the bow on top of the package. So someone’s experience is why I do what I do.
Speaking to the creative portion of being a barista and exploring in this area of coffee as a specialization, how do you differentiate yourself from these other people that do these types of things? What is your philosophy or viewpoint on the coffee industry?
Arian: Being able to bring a genuine relationship to the customer and an authentic spirit to the coffee culture. And then tie that into a correlation between an experience and a customer is something that I really like doing. So overall, using an authentic spirit and creating that relationship with someone to show them what a good product is.
People are blinded by overall additives and the everyday hustle and bustle. A lot of what we come in contact with whether it’s a relationship or whatnot is just the transparency of it. So for me being authentic and transparent but relational with someone in serving them a cup of coffee whether it’s to go or they sit at the bar and talk with me for 5 minutes, I can still give them a genuine, authentic, and transparent relationship. So I’d say what classifies me differently is the
“caring for each individual customer instead of caring for each individual drink or product”
So next question I’m curious about is… what’s the dream? If things went well and you were successful, where would you find yourself and what would that life look like from a high level? It doesn’t have to be job related or anything specific, but what’s your rosy view of life in the future?
Arian: I think success is classified so differently. I believe success is more than just money and having a nice house or nice car, but really man just happiness. Being steadfast in where you’re at and doing what you love with the partner you love. Our society is so focused on the 5-9 or the daily life ‘get rich or die trying thing’. But for me as long as I’m surrounded by people I love while doing what I love; whether it means I have a lot or a little bit of money is what makes me feel successful. Ultimately in the future if all goes well I’ll open my own artisan coffee shop in northern Virginia and make that a successful brand.
That’s a solid answer. If you could encourage other people that are similar to you in heart and spirit doing good honest work, what encouragement would you give them to keep going after their dream?
Arian: If you’re at a point where you don’t understand or are not sure what you’re doing, I feel like your attention should be reinforced by whatever supernatural being you believe in. For me, when I’m at a point where I don’t understand or am not sure, I refocus my attention on Jesus and just listen and wait. I know that the plans God has for me are perfect and on time, so if I were to encourage someone I’d say, ‘wherever you’re at, you’re their for a reason and you should just continue to keep killin it where you’re at.’
So that’s the last official question, so just for the future where can people find or reach you if they want to connect with you?
Arian: I’m on Instagram more than anything and it’s connected to my VSCO account where I do my blogging. My Instagram handle is @arianpinedo34 and I have my vsco link under my profile/bio. My professional email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I also have a professional Instagram handle for my coffee page @pindeocoffee.
Well that’s all I have for official stuff, is there anything you want to say or add? Any feelings, inspiration, shameless plugs?
Arian: I guess I’ll end it with a little cheers? Cheers!