What My Tattoo Means

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Introduction.

I had my first tattoo done on January 10th, 2019 at the Tattoo Temple in New Orleans, Louisiana. I had been thinking about this concept for about a year before I made any moves to actually have it done. Since it is getting (really) hot outside now, I have been wearing short-sleeve shirts instead of long-sleeve (duh). But I have had a lot of people comment on my tattoo lately, thinking that I must have gotten it done very recently. It has just been covered up all winter and it is just now getting to make its’ big debut!

If you know me personally, you know that I am passionate about coffee. I have worked in coffee for almost 3 years now, and have been drinking it consistently for about 6 years. I am currently the general manager of a third-wave, specialty coffee shop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I work for the same company that I initially fell in love with coffee over – Reve Coffee Roasters. Reve means “dream” in French. This company was born out of true passion and a dream, which is something that I have always adored about the company. One core principle of the company has always been the creation of community, and it is one that has become so very important within my own life.

Community.

I found a real community in and through coffee. For whatever reason, people who work in coffee are just the best. I have made some of the most genuine friends in this industry. I have found some of the hardest working, and most efficient human beings in coffee shops. And I find it interesting that within the coffee community, there are endless sub-communities. So many people love coffee, but they also love other things. I love how it can connect the most unlikely people.

Connection.

I truly learned how to connect with other humans over drinking a cup. Me and my mom started going on coffee dates during my junior year of high school. I would get an almond milk latte, and she would get a mocha.

I have never been a good conversationalist until very recently (and I still struggle with verbal communication), but I seemed to open up after a good cup. My mom and I made a great friend who was the main barista at our favorite shop (Reve Coffee Roasters). Little did I know that this barista friend that we made, would later offer me a job as his assistant manager of a new shop opening in Baton Rouge.

Before Reve, I got my very first job as a barista at my churches’ cafe. This was by no means a third-wave shop, but it was here that I developed the ability to communicate well and become efficient in concocting drinks. This is also where I learned how to come out of my introvert shell (when needed).

Growth.

I have recently become very intrigued by plant growth and production. As with any other plant, coffee plants require a lot of things in order to grow and be fruitful. It requires a very specific environment, appropriate soil properties, sunlight (but not too much), etc. Like so many plants, it is made up of many complex chemical mechanisms and reactions. And like all plants, we can find similarities in our own human growth cycle.

My tattoo is a reminder of the many seasons of growth that we endure has human beings. Some seasons are very fruitful, while some may wipe out the entire crop.

My tattoo also reminds me to always keep learning. Because the day we cannot grow plants, is the day that we go hungry. This is why I chose to include some of the parts of the coffee plant that make it work and reproduce, within my tattoo piece.

Sustainability.

Working in the third-wave coffee world has shown me how production of coffee needs to change if we are to have coffee available over the next few decades. Even third-wave coffee production (which has very strict sustainability standards) can definitely be improved. Sustainability (in every aspect of life) has become something that is extremely important to me. Whether it be our food systems, fashion, lifestyle, and coffee – I believe that keeping sustainability at the forefront is the only way to ensure a promising future.

Pleasure.

When it comes down to it, drinking coffee to me has a lot to do with pleasure. It is about an experience. It is about a comfort that I haven’t found in any other food or beverage. I have never been one to reach for a cup of coffee purely for the caffeine. In my mind, that is almost an abuse of coffee. I strive to drink only enough coffee so that I can focus (although I am not always perfect at this).

Honestly, I have fallen in love with the taste of coffee. I don’t drink almond milk lattes anymore, but instead reach for a pour-over as my drink of choice. I love picking out flavor notes, assessing the roast profile, and examining the mouthfeel that all comes with taking a sip.

Conclusion.

Coffee reminds me to slow down, although so many people look to it for speeding things up. Coffee is a craft. From field, to cup – coffee should be respected. The people who harvest, process, and brew it – should be respected. It should be made with care and precision. And I believe that for optimum enjoyment, it should be consumed in a ceremonial type manner. Coffee deserves it. You deserve it.

And some people may hate coffee – the taste, the smell, even the thought of it. Maybe coffee is “too much” for some people. And some people may hate tattoos. But I see this tattoo piece as an art form. I am NOT just another “hipster” barista who wanted a coffee tattoo (not that there is anything wrong with falling into this category, I just truly do not believe that I am that cool).

I have this tattoo as a reminder to me, every day – to embrace community and connection, to love the growth process, to think about sustainably often, to slow down, and enjoy the small things (like a good cup of coffee).