In this week's installment of Faces Behind the Food, New York City’s friendliest barista, Caitlin McGinn of Blue Bottle Coffee, keeps us wired with fun stories about serving coffee weekly to thousands of people. Caitlin tells us about “life-changing coffees” like the New Orleans, and meaning of coffee for people from different parts of the world who visit the High Line. For hours and locations of all of our vendors, see High Line Food.
Tell us about yourself and your passion for food and drink, including any fun or unusual facts that we might not know. (Any secret talents, perhaps?)
I grew up in New York City, which means I've been exposed to all kinds of amazing cuisine and culture. I have also worked in restaurants since I could walk (sort of!). As such, being around delicious food, drink, and the people who create it is second nature to me. I have found an amazing community in Blue Bottle, and I am proud to represent it on the High Line. We share a common interest and passion for coffee. You can find us tasting new coffees back in our Williamsburg, Brooklyn roastery regularly. We also have education sessions where all the baristas learn about the countries where the coffee comes from, places like Brazil, Mexico, Ethiopia and Uganda.
What do you love about your location on the High Line at West 16th Street?
The park is a beautiful, thoughtful, and inspired environment for our customers. From our compostable cups to our organic coffee beans, we are eager to share our commitment to smiles, and seriously delicious coffee. If you stop by for what we might call a “life-changing coffee” like the New Orleans, you’ll also get a good conversation with your barista. The New Orleans is brewed overnight with chicory; it is slightly sweet and served with whole milk. The New Orleans is just the sweet kick you need to start your day.
You interact with hundreds of customers each day. Share your favorite memory with us.
It's a thrill to experience the High Line as though for the first time with so many people! The High Line is representative of what makes New York the melting pot it is. We hear so many languages. Customers tell us what coffee and espresso mean back home. We make each and every coffee as delicious as our customers remember it whether they are from California or Rome. My favorite moments are when they say, “I've been searching all over New York for good coffee . . . finally I've found it!” It’s flattering when visitors from countries where coffee is traditionally taken very seriously pay us these sincere compliments. This happens every day.
The desire and taste for coffee is totally universal – it is a part of most people’s routine all over the world. Coffee speaks to me as it does to so many people from places near and far.
Blue Bottle Coffee is located on the High Line at West 15th Street, and is open daily from 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM through October 18.