When I tell him my own imagination of the coffee community, a group of guys intensely arguing about ethically sourced coffee on Reddit, he laughs. He has developed some of his closest friendships through coffee.
“[Ramirez] used to come in every day I was working and we became friends that way,” George Coffee + Provisions barista Hannah Martin said. “During stay-at-home orders, when no one was going anywhere, Edison Coffee Co. was doing curbside pickup and he texted me and some friends that he was going to get coffee and asked if we wanted anything. He dropped off masks and a cappuccino for me and checked up on us from six feet apart.”
Asked about the specifics of coffee, Ramirez nearly trips over himself to answer. Still, his descriptions are patient. Before he discusses “industry terms,” he stops and asks if I know what he means by “direct trade” or “grind size.” If a confused look emerges on my face, he will pull up a diagram or picture and explain animatedly with his hands. His thoughtfulness is evident here; it is almost as though he runs what he wants to say through a filter based on other people’s needs.
He speaks easily though and is enthusiastic about almost everything. After patiently listening to me digress from the subject of college location’s importance onto a small town in Washington, interjecting a ‘wow’ at the appropriate times, he adds, “I almost wrote my college essay about coffee,” as if he’d been thinking about it while I spoke. Again, after discussing his college plans and his dream of marketing for a coffee company or owning one, he brings back up a jokingly deep question I had asked earlier.
“I’ve been thinking about what happens to our souls after death more often lately,” Ramirez said. “Not in any bad way, just thinking about how people who have near death experiences change after them.”
On a tangent about Starbucks’ unethical buying and roasting practices and the preservatives in Keurig K-Cups, I stop him to jokingly ask, “Are you aware you’re being a coffee elitist right now?”
He agrees almost immediately, laughing as well: “Yes, very.” His admission excludes him from the typical coffee know-it-all title.
Upon closer inspection, Ramirez does not fit so easily into one box. He talks like a hippie environmentalist about fair trade and coffee farmer poverty, a gamer when it comes to Destiny 2 and Twitch and philosopher about psychology and death.
Mid conversation and largely out of the blue, he asks me, “Do you want to do journalism as a career?” I’m immediately tempted to make a joke (“I’m the one asking the questions here”), but I can tell it is genuine interest. So I tell him, as I sip a cold brew and he sits in front of an empty cortado glass, because I know he is listening.
Follow Anjali (@anjalikrishna_) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.