Episode 15 - Transcript

About Coffee with Jessica Greene

00:00 // Benjamin

Hello, my name is Benjamin Reitzammer and you’re listening to the CTO coffee podcast. Each episode features a new and special guests with whom I have a relaxed chat about all kinds of different aspects of humans and tech. And today I’m talking to Jessica Green. Jessica is currently backend developer for Ecosia. The search engine that plants trees. And if that isn’t interesting enough already, Jessica has a very, very fascinating journey to tell us about. She started out as a camera assistant before becoming a coffee pro serving brewing roasting coffee, the full package after having done that for a while, Jessica moved and so software development by way of online courses and immersing ourselves into programming communities such as PyLadies.So welcome Jessica.

00:56 // Jessica

So great to have you. Hi, I’m really excited to be here. Thanks so much for inviting me to join you today. Um, yeah. Great intro. Thanks so much. Uh, I don’t really have much to add to it. I think you covered it really well. I think, um, a career changer getting into tech. It always comes to mind to mention those previous careers.And I think also, as you were talking about coffee today, it’s obviously very relevant.

01:23 // Benjamin

Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Um, like we, we get to know each other, like via Twitter. Um, funny enough. Um, I just, just a few weeks ago I started like, uh, Yeah, small shout outs. I’m asking for, for people who would be interested in having a geeky coffee chat, um, to finally touch on the name of the podcast a little bit more on, let’s say on the second half the name a little bit, um, And then yeah, you shut up and, um, I’m, they’re very happy to geek out with you about coffee, but probably also a bit about tech. So why not send so again, perfect. Um, combination you got there and, um, perfect guest for this episode. Thank you again. So, um, yeah, maybe let’s start a little bit, um, easy.

02:16 // Jessica

Yes, please.

02:17 // Benjamin

So, um, yeah. And of course I picked up the wrong question. So when we talked about, um, yeah, when we talked before this episode, we said it would be great to geek

02:29 // Benjamin

about coffee. We got that already. So, um, yeah. What is your like DTS coffee moments? Um, or like what’s your like geekiest coffee?

02:41 // Jessica

Yeah, I think this is a great question. Um, because that is so many aspects of coffee you can geek out too. So like there’s no way I can give you a single answer to this. Um, but instead I’ll just pick a few of like my favorites. Um, First of all, I think the first touch point for most people, um, maybe getting into coffee brewing and they want to brew at home. And if you go into a specialty or a third wave cafe shop, you’ll see them using a little sorts of fancy looking equipment and like different glasses. Vessels and measuring temperature and weighing everything. Um, and I think, I think like this is a rabbit hole in itself just to brew yourself a cup of coffee at home, um, where you can get into debates off, like, which has the best bottles, water that you can buy in your local supermarket. Um, should you start using it filter or adding. Chemicals to your water to essentially even out the taste and roasting itself also has lots of degree’s. And the roasting process is one of my favorite things to kind of look into and dig into the still so many unknown things about coffee and its chemical compounds that there’s just so much research still being done in this area. And so then there’s also the history and the culture of coffee that you can also geek out to, um, looking at how coffee actually traveled around the world and the different places where it’s grown, the different elevations, all of the processing techniques. And there’s lots of amazing coffee producers experimenting with different types of coffee, um, processing, which has a huge effect on the taste and the final.

04:23 // Benjamin

Okay. Yeah. And that’s like always my, maybe not. Favorite, but one of the things that I’ve found over time that, yeah. I like a very special region and the special, like maybe not special, but specific kind of processing. Like I like natural process beans from Africa, lots. Um, Southern that’s. That’s amazing. So, um, Yeah. So maybe to turn that into a question, like, what is, what is your favorite beans Fred now? I mean, you probably that changed a lot over time, so not to like your all time, but like what is.

05:01 // Jessica

Yeah, absolutely. Um, I think, you know, It is a hard question to answer because coffee is a seasonal product and even some coffee that may come from the same region at one year to the next or one season to the next may taste different. And as we just mentioned, the way that it’s processed has a huge effect on the final cup. Also not to mention how it’s roasted and how you choose to brew it. So it’s a fairly complex. Um, I particularly like coffees, I would say Ethiopia, Ethiopia being where we feel like coffee originated from. Um, and I think that’s also down to the fact that she had the opportunity to go to Ethiopia and meet coffee producers there, um, which was an amazing experience to be able to connect with coffee in that way. Um, and particularly with the people that work in coffee. So. Yeah. I normally always down for some sort of Ethiopian, um, wash or now, and again, I can natural process that are a bit more funky. Uh they’re the ones that like, can either, have you tasting garbage or tasting strawberries depending on your palette.

06:12 // Benjamin

Yeah. Interesting. Yeah. Um, now that you mentioned that you went to Ethiopia, um, to visit, um. Coffee farmers, coffee grows. I don’t know the correct term. So, um, and so yeah, when, again, when we talked to her, Oh yeah. Um, before this episode, um, you mentioned, and also you mentioned earlier, like the interesting aspects, Peaky aspect about coffees, like the stories around the reach around coffee. So, um, I imagine like the coffee farmers, they, they probably have very different rituals than, than we do here. And. Yeah.

06:48 // Jessica

Yeah. I mean, this very much depends on the origin of which country, of course, where we’ll be talking about. So I think, um, in some places it might seem very different to how we consume, but I mean, in other places, maybe like Brazil or like central South America, like. They’re consuming it in a fairly similar way. One of the rituals that to experience in Ethiopia coffee ceremony, um, which you may be can also experience here in Germany and Ethiopian. I’ve been to a great one in Berlin, actually, um, where the coffee would be roasted in a pan on an open flame. Of course inside the restaurant, that’s done a little bit more safely, but then they ruined it pop like civic ground. So just in the pot with the water. So it’s quite a strong, thick brew on, and this I think is like something quite special based, normally serve it with popcorn as well. Which is really interesting, but actually really, yeah, great complimentary snack. And I say mentioned Ethiopian coffee is often have like quite fruity, particularly cause they in Ethiopia, they will do a lot of the natural processing where the coffee bean is dried with the coffee cherry, like the fruit and the pulp still on it. So it absorbs a lot of the sugars. From the fruit itself, like the sucrose. So you get sometimes these kind of funky flavors. Yeah. It’s lots of sweetness is it’s a great coffee also for after dinner, I would say after great Ethiopian food.

08:21 // Benjamin

Cool. Everything. Very interesting. So what interests to me a lot is like how people kind of like get to yeah. What to call today, like third wave coffee. So did you no about it before you started out in the coffee business? Or could you like run into a coffee shop at one point and then yeah, that’s my line of work.

08:42 // Jessica

From now on. Honestly, I had no clue. Like I thought I knew coffee. Like I worked here, the film industry, as you mentioned before, and when I was working as a trainee, a big part of my childhood would be running and getting coffee and making the coffee and the truck not super glamorous. I can tell you, but I did serve coffee once to the late Christopher Lee. It was a dreadful, actual coffee. So I’m running ashamed of the coffee, but. Not if the person that got to send it to, but yeah, I ended up going and looking for a job in London in a special e a coffee shop. And it was that I like really kind of discovered what coffee actually was. And I actually looked up to check because I really wanted to share with you what that coffee was like. I know we discussed it a little bit in the pre-talk and then it was this Columbia Kilimanjaro AA by an amazing. Coffee producer called AB battle. She’s in El Salvador. She’s a fifth generation coffee farmer, China stupid kickass woman. She’s been in lots of media for years now, but still year after year produces fantastic coffee. Um, and it was actually roasted at time by square mile, which is a coffee roastery in the UK. But I actually found that here in Berlin and like tasting that was. Eyeopening. I can only, I can only tell you, um, like it had so much flavor, so many, so much complexity, um, and talking to the baristas there as they like, kind of walked me through, like, let it go down a little bit. We taste the cup. I was mind blown. I was hooked. That was it for me. Like I knew from that instance that I wanted to learn more about this. And it only got better because after that point, I got to jump into learning about and extracting espresso. Also pulling apart, especially the machines, foaming mill, a hand bruise, and then later the roasting side of things. So, yeah, it was once I was bitten by the book. That was it. No going back.

10:35 // Benjamin

Yeah. I don’t know, to be honest how it was for me, I can only like, remember. That I think I heard about like, yeah, third wave coffee shops, the first ones in, in Berlin via Twitter. Also funny enough. And like people writing about it and raving about like the great coffee also about grandma and then, um, yeah, I also, at one time, like visiting, um, former colleague in Berlin and we also went to shop there and also I also tasted a square mile. I don’t know if it was like, same, the same beans, but. Yeah. And they’re there also, I was like blown away by how amazing that tastes. And then, yeah. And then for me, the journey started more at home, like with not the right equipment back then, like I still have like a militar filter hand filter thingy. So yeah, they extraction was not very good back

11:31 // Jessica

Well, the Melita was actually invented in Germany. Yeah. It’s like, you know, one of the claim to fames of the, uh, kind of when all these different brewing devices were getting invented, uh, Millie, I think was the, also the paper was like the defining moment of it being like a cleanup taste, because of course, a lot of coffee brewing methods involve just having the grinds and the waters together for a longer period of time. Whereas like with poor buy, which is what milliliters. The water is just going through the good coffee grounds. And particularly when you add like a paper filled, so you just getting a Medina tastes, there’s less oils going through into the final cup. No a bad choice for starting point.

12:12 // Benjamin

Yeah, yeah, yeah. That, that might be true. Just come, compare it to how I do it today. It’s like mirror simplistic. Let’s say that.

12:20 // Jessica

Yeah. And the other thing I wanted to add, if you don’t mind is an, I think it’s really interesting in Germany. Actually. I was thinking about this because when I started in coffee, there was only one or two, maybe, maybe a couple more specialty coffee shops in Berlin. Uh, and you mentioned, of course, that you’d also been sibling to kind of have that experience, but today I I’ve lost count. Like I knew specialty coffee shops opening, right. Left and center in Berlin. And I also know, like throughout Germany, it’s just becoming more and more of a thing and more and more people that kind of appreciating it and starting to like educate themselves on what coffee is, which is amazing to be honest.

12:59 // Benjamin

Yeah. It was funny at the beginning. Like it was like almost like a treasure hunt. Okay. Where, where is the third wave coffee shop? I have to find one. And is there one in a city that I might travel to and yeah, nowadays it’s more like, yeah, of course there is. Some kind of flex specialty coffee shop in whatever bigger city years you go to. But that’s, that’s a good thing, I guess

13:22 // Jessica

definitely leaves you a lot of choice. And I think it’s also a great, like the community has really grown with it as well. Like we having quite a few years now, like the coffee. That way, I probably pronounced it wrong, but it’s a secret center, but the German name for this. And I think that’s so great, like to have that kind of community aspect.

13:41 // Benjamin

Yeah. Thirdwavewichteln, yeah, I love depth. Um, I also participated in it like several times. Always is like great thing to, to get like some random coffee beans from, from all over the world. Um, that’s really great. So you already, um, like touched upon ‘em. Like the work that goes into coffee, coffee a bit, um, like with all the different processing techniques and all that, maybe you want to like share bits, um, that more, I think we, we touched, or we mentioned like natural and washed and all that, but maybe you can like pick apart these sports a little bit more like what it actually means for the people who are in that like, um, third wave coffee for 10 years.

14:29 // Jessica

Yeah, absolutely. Um, first I can say that I am a software engineer. A lot of this information is a little rusty. Um, but if you are getting into coffee and you’re really interested to know more, um, which I really hope after listening to this, you are, I can really recommend the James Hoffman book, the coffee Atlas. Because it has, it does a really good job of like high level covering all of these topics, including brewing and processing and goes into different coffee regions. Um, and hang, it has the second edition now it’s, we’ll say in German, I’m pretty sure. So that book would be top of the list for me, but yeah, just to give a rough breakdown, when comes off the plant, it’s a cherry and. If you are able to, you would, uh, take away all of the fruits, flash away from this and just expose the bean itself. And the way that you would do this is through putting it in a bath with a lot of water so that the kind of fruit flashes like soaking off it. And this is what we call washed coffee. And essentially, like it will sit through different baths. There’s actually all sorts of different ways. Uh, to do this, um, and all different sorts of variations. It very much depends on, for example, how much access to water you may have. And, but also maybe how much space you have and how much coffee you’re actually processing. So washed coffee in general has all of the, um, fruit pulp taken away from being, um, and then sat in water to kind of like clean it off. Whereas on the other end of the scale, so coffee, um, will end up just getting dried with the coffee cherry still on it, which means that it kind of soaks up a lot of the sugar and the, um, sucrose from the cherry Pope itself in between as a massive spectrum. Well, it looks, them include a hell of a lot of labor and some of it is able to do with machines and some of it in some countries would be done by hand. For example, when I was in Ethiopia, they would spread the beans out. And these were natural process beans. So they still have the cherry on those, spread them out on big bets that would sit into the sun, um, while they were drying. But you have to turn the beans so that you don’t have like moisture underneath and, um, dry on the top also because you, they not kind of risks, some sort of like fermentation that you don’t want to have in the coffee. There’s also all sorts of processes, types, where you might play with that fermentation and you might introduce it, but then you want to. I didn’t do it intentionally. Um, I’m not just means having a lot of people out there, um, and going through the beans and turning them around and taking out any that are not good that may have been eaten by a pest or may start to show signs of like some sort of disease or mold or something like this. Um, also in the very height of the sun, they have to cover them. And if it rains, they have to cover them on. So just like a lot of work goes into it and. After this stage, you also are not finished after this stage. You have to go and put it through a machine that will then take off that hard and cherry from the outside and kind of remove this and dehole, the coffee. Um, and that’s normally done with a machine that will just like shake the coffee, essentially until this. Comes off on. And there is more sitting time after that happens and the green beans, the war being gets put into backs. And then at this point it’s almost ready to go and get exported to whichever consuming country is going to buy it.

18:16 // Benjamin

And then it ends up in some roastery. Right. And then kind of like what you said, the, the most interesting parts, um, became the roasting. So, um,

18:28 // Jessica

Well, I think it’s like a bit of a rabbit hole because it’s like, I think when you first discovered coffee, you’re like, Oh, this is the most interesting part. Like I can brew my coffee with different temperature, water in different wash, and I have an effect on the taste. And then you realize, well, if you really want to have an effect on the taste, you better start getting involved a bit in the roasting, cause that has a play on it. But then you realize if you really want to have effect on the taste, you better get involved with the processing and the growing of the coffee. Because ultimately if they, if the flavors are not in the coffee yet, Like the rural product, you will never have them in your cup.

19:04 // Benjamin

Yeah. I’m very, very deep, deep rabbit hole. Um, yeah, one, one thing. Um, Just making this up as I go now. But, um, one thing which I find, like I was interested when I’m in, in offices, um, like where I work and I usually like bring my, I kind of like filter equipment with me and then. And then there are some, um, yeah, of course always some, some people who don’t like brew coffee that way. And then they’re like, okay, what are you doing? Why are you putting your, your server and your filter, um, on a scale. And then why do you, why do you measure it? What do you measure? And like the way you pour it over the water, that looks so weird. And then I always wonder like, okay, what do I tell them people now, like, of course I’m not. Not any kind of pro. So I just like picked up this stuff somehow from beet, from brewing instructions online or from, from some books and, um, and just found out what worked for me and then stuck to it without actually like understanding like all the chemistry behind it. And like, does it really make a difference if I poured it, the water in circles around and all of this. So, um, Yeah. Do, do you have like similar, um, situations where you’ve like, yeah, maybe, and also in an office, like to your coffee thing and then people come along and what are you doing there?

20:34 // Jessica

So, absolutely. I mean, here’s the thing, I think it’s like, At the end of the day, the coffee you’ll enjoy the most is the coffee that you have at that time. On the more you learn, you maybe make your coffee better and more suited to your taste, but it doesn’t mean the coffee that you made the day before was like bad. Sorry. I think that’s the great thing is even if someone says, I don’t really want to measure it, like I don’t want to waste time or for whatever reason they might have. If they say I don’t want to measure the coffee, um, they can already make a huge improvement maybe to their daily beverage by buying whole beans and just grinding fresh. So it’s really about like how, how much you want to go along that path. And for some people that may be. The full thing, cause I’m a scales girl and a time ago and like, you know, I’ve got it all set up at home. Um, and for some of the people that it may just be like experimenting with a different water and they find something nice for them and they’re like, that’s great. I think it’s, it’s always good to people ask questions. No matter what it is about, because it shows that interested. And I do like that. I do like the aspect of it. Being able to share something that I feel very passionate about with other people. And if they see you starting to prep a group, they’ll come and kind of like Sunday, you, and it might also be because they just want to have some of the coffee you’re making, so be prepared. Um, but also it’s kind of like a general interest. I think that’s really great. I think for me, I always say like, coffee is like baking. Much more than it is like cooking. So I have a recipe that I follow. I weigh out the coffee grams. I weigh out the water. I time it. If I follow those , I know I’ll be pretty happy with the brew that I make, unless I, you know, sometimes when it’s early, I forget the timer or something on if I don’t follow those steps. And I kind of just. Go by eye it’s really difficult for me to like, we produce the coffee. I know that I like, so the problem with doing it, maybe by aisle, by volume, opposed to by weight, is that depending on the freshness of the coffee, it can have a vast difference to how it reacts when you pull the water in there. So while you might believe you’re putting the same amount of force you’re and once you start using a scale, you’ll realize that. Probably not true.

23:04 // Benjamin

Yeah. So what I was like, tell people, well, or my answer to the question, like, why do you weigh stuff? Like, why do you use a scale? Is that like, I’m trying to control like the ratio of water and beans basically, um, into half that hallways, like at least half this, this variable, like, like pin down. Like even if I can like pin down, like the quality of the water all the time and, um, yeah. Hell. It is not good enough any way to taste that. But, um, yeah, so these are like the easiest, like variables to control, like for me.

23:41 // Jessica

um, then it also gets really fun cause you get to taste the difference between the coffees. So like if you have that initial consistency, I am a big believer in that. I think people can taste the difference. Your palette is like something that you need to train. Um, but. So I like, you know, okay. Maybe not the minute nuances, but at the same time, like, I do believe like, no matter what your beverages, like, if you like middle-ish cafe or you like latte, I think you still taste the difference. If I put a different express espresso in there, you know, or like if you, you kind of taste the difference between a natural process. Or a wash coffee. I think a lot of people side-by-side will taste the difference there. So if you have a little consistency and then you buy a new bag beans, I think then you get the real benefit because you really get to see what the differences.

24:35 // Benjamin

Yeah. Yeah, totally. Just smiling. When you said like, um, people can taste the difference because it’s like almost reminded me or almost it reminded me of typical programmer and unprogrammed thing. Like where some people believe like program, is this something that you, that is a, like an innate talent that you either bring with you and you’re born with it? Which of course it’s total bullshit, but, um, yeah, either you’re born with it or the other. Yeah. People say like, of course, something that you can train and yeah, I liked that. Um, yeah, of course everything can, can be trained, um, in a certain way. And then in the end it boils down to like how much. Efforts, how much training effort do you want to put in? Um, and

25:22 // Jessica

yeah, if people are based in Berlin. I’m not sure about other cities, but I could confidently, or I could find it out and personally link one. Um, but I know that quite a few sobriety stories and cafes in Berlin will host, uh, cuppings from time to time. Which is essentially a coffee tasting and they’re normally free as well, which means like a free chance to go and see if you can taste the difference. What more would you like? Um, but the big difference here is. You taste the coffee side by side and the old brewed in the same way. So exactly what we’re talking about of like having that consistency in the brew method and having the coffee really shine through. And if you have like a table with like five different coffees on ranging from different origins and different processes, then I, I really, yeah. I’m yet to find someone who. Said they tasted no difference in those coffees. Um, I used to run the cuppings, where I worked and this was a real joy because you got to really kind of see people have that discovery moment. Of like noticing the different flavors within the coffee. Um, and it’s well, actually in itself. So when you asked me about rituals, that was probably the one I should’ve also mentioned it. You know, we take cuts like little round bowls. We grind the coffee, you smell it. You take can be aromas. We pull water on the coffee. You smell it again. You take in the aromas. We do this thing called breaking, which is where you take a spoon and you push it across the top, which basically knocks the coffee grinds down. So they sink to the bottom and this. Stops the extraction to a certain extent. Um, and yeah, this is, you know, like that’s the piece when you get to like break the coffee cups and then we taste it. Of course, um, normally spitting out a bit like wine tasting because that’s a lot of coffee you’re going to consume. And also you’re really encouraged to taste it more than once. So, as I mentioned before, like tasting your asset, cools down and seeing how the flavor profiles developed. It’s a wonderful experience. Like I highly recommend anyone, um, who are in these cities that have third wave roasters to write them and say, you do any sort of coffee, coffee tasting.

27:36 // Benjamin

Yeah. Awesome. Um, I want to go back to, to one thing that you said said earlier where you, um, I don’t really like the, your humbleness when you talked about like, um, like everybody. Yeah. Can, can taste the difference. Everybody has a different, um, Yeah, train pallets, um, and, and all that. And, um, and again, then there, there was like a, like a parallel to, to tech in there for me as, uh, at least in, in that there, there is some people, some developers who really want to convince everybody that their way of doing things is like the right way. And some like therapy.

28:21 // Benjamin

maybe too passionate about some of the topic bits. Um, and, um, yeah, and then there are others where like, okay, here, here’s the thing, make your own decision. Um, and yeah, I can imagine that’s. Yeah, probably also these kinds of people in the coffee business who are like, okay, either you drink here, it’s LPN, natural beings in this way, or get pure out here, out here.

28:47 // Jessica

Absolutely. Like, I mean, there’s a fine line, uh, for sure. Um, and I think sometimes, you know, those lines or those boundaries need to be pushed a little bit. Um, but for instance, the cafe I worked in, uh, would not serve hand brew. Uh, uh, coffee with milk, um, which for some people is like very controversial. Um, and they really did not enjoy or want to be told that they could not have this coffee with milk. Now we had an entire menu of coffees with milk. So. It was not that they couldn’t have coffee and milk, but, or this particular hand brew, we were kind of using the product to really try and connect people to coffee and to the origin of coffee and the producers of coffee, because they definitely do not get highlighted enough in the consumer. Realm of coffee. And so we would even make these bruises and hand out bits for free to people. Um, but we kind of kept very strict to the point of saying, we’re not gonna serve it with milk because we really want you to have this experience. That’s what this coffee is about. Like we have an entire menu of milk drinks. Um, that, that you could offer that you could have a smell tone of, um, of course it was controversial because some people want it to come in and, you know, push, push those boundaries. But I think that was good. Um, I think where it can kind of go in this direction and I have also, um, not truly experienced, but heard about it in software development is where people start to kind of go down this route, a thinking. In absolute of like, you know, this is the only way to drink coffee, or this is the only way to prepare coffee. And I mean, with coffee is such a subjective realm, but like, it’s just not true. Like I think every coffee is like really interesting topic because I think it is one that almost everyone can say something about, even if what they say is I don’t like coffee. Um, You know, it’s kind of like in all of our lives and there’s definitely reasons for that. But I kind of feel like it’s something that is just precious to the individuals and not something that we can, uh, you know, kind of dictate or on push on people. Um, I just think it, for me with coffee in that aspect, it was, and is still about sharing a passion and, and kind of like trying highlight a different aspect of it. Um, so saying like, Yeah. I mean, I know you’ve been drinking coffee for 20 years or 40 years or however many years, but have you tried this great new thing? Um, and that’s the moments I love of like those people that come in, uh, maybe expecting one thing and then you get to turn them around in a different direction. And by the end of the week, they’re only drinking black. Yeah.

31:42 // Benjamin

I mean, these, these are like, Like the fairytales almost, um, like, or where you turn people around like that, that much. Um….

31:50 // Jessica

but it happens more that more than fairytales.

31:54 // Benjamin

Okay. That’s great to hear that’s criteria. Um, yeah.

31:59 // Jessica

I’m very persuasive.

32:03 // Benjamin

If you say so. I am very content if people like, at least try, try it black, like whenever. In an office setting, for example, again, um, yeah, people come by work past my career and then they just tasted it. Then I can somehow tell them like, okay, it’s gotta be different, please. Don’t shy away just yet. Just try it. Yeah. So, yeah, as, as we already kind of like uncovered, um, like detectives, um, so there are some, some parallels, right between, um, working in tech and working as a barista or generally in the coffee business. Um, You’ve been working as a developer in like for, let’s say you’re in the tech scene for four. Yeah. Somewhere between three and four years probably. Um, okay. Let’s say,let’s say three years. Um, so what, what are other things, or what are other aspects that you like could take over, take with you from the coffee, coffee business, into tech.

33:14// Jessica Greene

Um, yeah, I mean, I think this is the thing of being a career changer. Like the first one, I just swapped out from a film and television and then went into coffee and then almost the same with this move too, is like, you kind of have that fear that you have nothing to take with you. Um, so you’re just. Bringing nothing to the table, or like, just so much less to the table than someone who has maybe done a computer science degree. Um, for example, but I think like for sure, this is not true. It was not true for myself. It was not true for many of the talented developers that I know in the industry. Um, it’s, it’s just kind of like that imposter syndrome. For me, one of the real strengths, um, I think have been my communication skills. Like I would spend whole day almost in a cafe talking to people hafting to navigate what that order was. Um, and also maybe talking to them a bit about the coffee, uh, while also then on the other thread. Uh, you know, keeping an eye on cleaning the coffee and, uh, cleaning the cafe and kind of making sure everything was running smoothly. Um, it’s like programming, but in real life, like on a different it’s problem solving it’s, you know, different syntax, but underlying kind of issues can be the same of like, I, you know, um, have too many cups stacked up in the dishwasher area. So like, my memory is out because I need more cups on the machine. Uh, how do I get those cups while I have to free up some memory? So there’s actually lots of parallels that you just don’t see coming, um, until you make a change over. Uh, but I would say communication skills is like by far the strongest in that, because as developers, it’s not just about sitting down and coding and it’s about being able to talk through those processes and also talk through those processes with people who are coming at it from completely different angles. So share product manager. Um, about a code implementation at a higher level. And then maybe also explaining the same thing to a colleague that is a developer at a lower level. Um, I think you start to kind of build those skills, um, in that kind of job. And yeah, I think with any, any work having work experience anywhere is really valuable because it’s amazing. Like when you turn up on the job. How much you can just like having the aptitude to just kind of get stuck in om is like valued. And I think a lot of us think it’s really about these. Hard skills. It’s about having a computer science degree. It’s about knowing all the latest languages, um, or being like super techie, uh, for lack of a better word. And I just don’t think that’s true. I think with programming, I foresee it as a space that’s should be a lot more inclusive and a lot more opening to a lot more people because it would be incredibly beneficial also for the industry. Um, And I think there’s a multitude of reasons why that unfortunately is not yet the case. Um, but I think that’s, yeah, it’s an exciting direction to go in. That’s why I like the community work because just seeing those people come into the community, uh, with all these different backgrounds and stories is just, it’s very rewarding.

36:49 // Benjamin

Yes. So obviously, um, so for listeners of this podcast, so everything that has just said, like full, full lack, of course. Um, maybe you want to share a little bit more about that, um, community work that you’re doing. Like, um, I think you already, um, or I said in the beginning that you describe yourself as community talks as, as well as self-talk, um, So, what did you, what kind of like community did you start out in and what did you like?How did you experience that? Or what did you experience?

37:26 // Jessica

Yeah, I’m yeah, I do use the phrase self-taught slash community taught, which I absolutely stole from, uh, an amazing guy called Daniel Reyes is part of the Django community. Um, but it really sums up for me exactly what the experience was. Um, when I started wanting to Lynch codes, uh, it’s a bit later in life, I wasn’t sure about going back to university to be perfectly honest. Um, and I ended up. I meet a Pyladies meet up, um, and just being blown away by the fact that that was an opportunity to have free education, a free bottle of, I dunno, Fritz Cola and a piece of pizza and the evening, and then meet all of these, uh, like bright, inspirational people who were kind of on a similar journey or already working in tech. Um, and at the time they were looking for co-organizers, which I kind of felt like, Oh, I mean, I know about four lines of Python. I can’t possibly be an organizer for this community. Um, but I also had a lot of time on my hands and I’ve done event organization and other kind of areas of my life, so. I stepped up and had joined the organizing team, which I think was super rewarding for me. It gave me the opportunity to like really get to know some of the people in the community. Um, but also give back. And I think like, Running a community group is so much work and almost always, I would say voluntary. Um, so I really have a lot of appreciation and respect for people that give their time, uh, to this kind of work because it is work. Um, and it takes lots of different aspects. So you need lots of different skill sets, um, probably Python the line, which of the community is the smallest skill that you actually need. Um, but obviously it’s a great way to learn. And, uh, I think, you know, the opportunity is to learn from being in the community and then also the opportunity to network, meet different companies. See what this. Develop a thing could look like for me, um, was just, it just emboldened me a lot to say, Oh no, this is the right path. And I, I have to keep doing this and um yeah. I really don’t know if I would’ve made it as far as I have without the community support behind me. I think it’s, you know, web hospital it’s really important to give back and support other people that are coming up behind you. Um, so it’s something I like very practically try to make space and like make opportunities for other people to also fill the space.

40:08 // Benjamin

Beautiful. Um, just cause beautiful also, um, like, um, yeah, what you just said, like how you describe how community organizing or running a community so much more than just like knowing a language and that, again, it’s like a perfect metaphor for tech work or software development torque. Um, And it again in itself, like there’s so much more work, um, going into like creating a solution, solving a problem, creating software than just like the, the actual, yeah. The actual activity of typing out letters to an editor or IDE or whatever. Yeah. So, um, amazing. Um, that was super, super interesting. Um, and, um, I learned a lot, so again, um, also about coffee, so there’s always more to learn. Um, yeah. Any, anything else that you want to share with the listeners?

41:11 // Jessica

Um, yeah. I have a few things. I’ll do them as like with breaths in between in case you want to cut them. Um, Uh, so the first thing I’d like to give a shout out to um, a friend of mine, James, who has a podcast called filter stories. It’s a really interesting podcast focused on marginalized coffee farmers and telling their stories. Some of the stories also told about baristas. Um, but I think it’s like a really insightful look at some of the issues that actually exist today in the specialty coffee world. Then i’d also um…

41:51 // Benjamin

Please don’t pauses. No, no, it’s the necessary it’s, it’s cool to plug these things.

42:01 // Jessica

I also really wanted to plug this amazing, um, or actually just this amazing coffee roaster that I came across called canvas Madison. Uh, she works for Royal coffee as the director of roasting, um, and they have fantastic webinars that I can highly recommend. Um, I think. She is really pushing for open education around coffee. And I think that is also one of the issues that we have in tech is around gatekeeping. Um, and thinking that information is only worthy of being given to certain groups of people on coffee is very much like that. Like a lot of the books. Um, around coffee can be quite expensive or you need to pay for courses. Um, and I think we see that generally in like the people who actually have the opportunity to open roasteries or get to a roasting position and what she’s doing also with another woman, Julia Han, um, is sharing that knowledge openly and free. And I think that is really awesome. Um, and that’s with Royal coffee.

43:05 // Benjamin

Cool. Thank you. Um, thank you again, also for the products.

43:11 // Jessica

I dunno. I mean, I just like, if people are really into learning about coffee, the so many great resources and I just, I really, these two, I feel very strongly about, because I think, um, it’s, it’s really important that this movement asset gains traction that. Gives a platform to the people who, um, put in like so much work, also underrepresented and don’t have as much of a platform in coffee industry as maybe like some of the top baristas or top roastery owners. Um, and I think like that, that’s something for me that is still missing in that dynamic. Um, and I think that’s what third wave coffee is really started to try to do by like highlighting coffee, roasters coffee producers, um, and. Talking more about coffee in terms of wine to like kind of elevate it. Um, which, yeah, it might mean that you ended up here, uh, a bit more than, um, the speck health coffee that you buy. But at the end of the day, like, If that money is indeed going back to producers and building like a sustainable business for them, then it’s worth, it’s worth more than every penny. Um, but that’s is this consumers, that’s our responsibility to ensure that we are looking for places that, um, do direct trade, um, and like do that in a meaningful way. So they are ensuring sustainable business for the coffee producers that they work with. Um, and I think we, as consumers should question that. Not just for coffee, but also for coffee.

44:48 // Benjamin

And for the people and the humans. So very much, again, we’re back in tech and humans. Thank you. Thank you again, Jessica. That was amazing. Like super interesting, so many insights for me. Um, And some, yeah, just wonderful to talk to you. Thank you so much.

45:08 // Jessica

Thanks for having me.