Simeon Bricker from The Roasterie Cafe
Simeon Bricker didn’t plan on making a career out of coffee when pursuing an undergraduate degree at UMKC in Studio Art. The world of photography and animation was his world and taking a job as a barista in the Roasterie Cafe’s Brookside location was just a way to support himself as a student. In fact, before he started working there Simeon had rarely indulged in the seduction of the bean. Yet he soon found himself immersed in the community of coffee lovers and baristas and the Java jive was hard to resist. As a barista he began to learn the arts of the “perfect pull” and appreciate the subtle differences in beans, blends and roasting styles. Of course, latte art was a natural fit and he still regularly travels to participate in national events, like the Portland, OR “Coffeefest” Latte Art Championship and trade show.
Having apprenticed in the Cafe it wasn’t long before Simeon’s talent and enthusiasm for the coffee culture, especially for the customer experience was rewarded with promotion to “Professor Bean” – the Roasterie’s top trainer for baristas – and now his position as Master Roaster. It’s the equivalent of an Executive Chef in a restaurant. Responsibilities include a daily cupping of roasts currently being produced as well as new beans, monitoring quality control and making slight adjustments as bean sizes, density and moisture content change from shipment to shipment requiring tweaking in roasting times and temperatures. Simeon also does research & development – seeking out new sources of fine coffee and helping pair Roasterie coffees with the food products offered in the cafes. He is involved from “origin to cup” as it were and the myriad of details in between. And he is constantly learning, reading and training with the Roasters Guild of America to improve his craft & artistry.
From the first moment if is clear to see the great love that this young man has for his unexpected passion. It shines from his eyes and infuses his words as he speaks about his excitement for an upcoming trip to Costa Rica to look at the newest crops there. Or as he describes a new “favorite” Roasterie offering – “La Bomba” from the Chiapas region of Mexico. Like great “foodies” and wine lovers, he makes fine distinctions between subtle characters in the beans and the final roasted and brewed product. This reserve coffee blend of 3 varietals , he says, “is surprising with an explosion of flavor on the palate and a fine grape-like acidity.” While he clearly enjoys blending both the science & the art of coffee, he is quick to point out that the true art is creating something appreciated by the audience, the customers. “Not everyone will like every coffee that the Roasterie produces; that is to be expected – but we have to listen to the feedback of our guests and strive to make the total experience the best possible.” It is said that great art comes from attention to detail and intense focus as well as dedication to quality results. At the Roasterie, it might be that “Professor Bean” needs a new title – perhaps “Bean Artist.”