5 Questions With Sarah Leslie
By Mark Hundley, BGA Membership Committee
Sarah R. Leslie has been working in the coffee industry for almost a decade at many companies including Gimme! Coffee where she was the Director of Education. She is currently a barista and educator at Joe. Sarah holds the SCAA Specialized Instructor and Lead Examiner credential; and the Barista Level 1, Level 2, and Gold Cup Technician certificates. She specializes in developing and implementing customized training systems for coffee companies. Sarah serves as the Vice Chair of the Barista Pathway Committee and is on the BGA Executive Council. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their dog.
What does being a member of the Barista Guild mean to you?
The Barista Guild and it’s membership legitimize the profession of making coffee. BGA members aren’t “just baristas”. (I really hope no one feels like they are JUST a barista, but I hear people say it all the time!) Baristas are trained professionals integral to the success of coffee businesses and coffee industry at large.
Being a member of the BGA has made my career in coffee possible. In a very tangible sense the BGA has provided me many professional development and networking opportunities through certification, the Instructor Development Program, and events like camp and competition. The BGA has also given me a less tangible (but almost more important) feeling of being validated and recognized by the larger specialty coffee industry. My BGA peers are an endless source of support and inspiration. (face with hearts for eyes emoji)
What coffees have you been really into lately and what is your favorite way to prepare said coffees?
We just got several new coffees in at Joe including a Guji Yabitu Koba from Ethiopia. It’s a very complex coffee with a lot of depth, but also a distinct lightness. Each sip invites you to take another one.
At home, I’ve been brewing Aeropress, which is new for me. Initially, I was a bit perplexed by the Aeropress (there’s so many ways to make coffee!), but I’ve come to appreciate how fast and easy it is.
If you had the opportunity to explore different avenues of the industry, what would you most likely want to learn about?
I would love to learn to roast coffee. I don’t want to become a roaster, but I’d love to be able to make green coffee turn brown and tasty!
If your dog (Pickles) was a coffee, what growing region would she be from and what would her descriptors be?
Oh, this is an excellent question. She would definitely be from Colombia! She is sweet, but also powerful. She’s also dynamic: sometimes fruity, sometimes vegetal, sometimes chocolatey, sometimes all three! She’s a playful coffee, but also cuddly and comforting. Can you tell I love Pickles and I love Colombian coffees?
If you could pass along any info to new members of the BGA on how they could get the most out of their membership, what would you say?
As with most things in life, you will get as much out of your BGA membership as you are willing to give to it. The BGA is a member-driven organization, which means that WE make it happen. If you want things from the BGA, the best way to get what you want is to get involved: plan a TNT, host an MDE, attend Barista Camp, submit a brewing video, etc! If you need support, reach out to any Executive Council or Committee Member. Our contact information is listed on the website for a reason: because we want to hear from you and support your BGA dreams!