My Morning Cup features the coffee rituals that most of us have. People from all walks of life — from US senators to ballplayers, subway drivers to college professors — have submitted entries that will run each day.
Here, we reached Amanda Juris — winner of the 2014 US Cup Tasters Championship — inside the “cupping” room at Starbucks headquarters in Seattle. “Cupping” means to taste coffees.
Amanda Juris, 25
Coffee quality specialist at Starbucks
Describe your coffee routine. Where do you frequent, what do you like?
Well, usually each morning I drink anywhere from 300 to 500 cups of coffee. I don’t typically make coffee at home because there’s usually a lot in store for me when I arrive at work at 6:30. And after cupping in the morning at 10:30, it’s pretty much my first priority to get some food in my stomach. It’s not really until about 1:30 in the afternoon where I’m ready for my first cup of coffee. And that’s when I’ll make a Chemex. Maybe a Colombia or Mexico, whatever’s in season. I like to honor seasonality in coffee just like any other agricultural product.
Make or buy?
Make for the most part. Just because again, it’s really straight to work in the morning. And it’s available here. But on the weekends, I like to go out and explore and visit cafes. And then I buy. But for the most part I make my own coffee.
And when you buy, what’s your order?
Coffee. I love to ask the baristas what their favorite coffee is, and give baristas a chance to geek out about it, too. But again, whatever’s seasonal, whatever’s fresh. It’s not the same every time, for sure.
How do you take it?
Hot. No, I don’t add any cream or sugar in it.
Alone or with company?
Both. I’ll meet friends at a coffee shop. But if I go alone, I really do love talking to baristas and hearing about their coffee journey and giving them an opportunity to geek out about it.
Where do you drink it? Seated or on the go?
If I go out to a cafe, I like to have it in ceramic and sit there and enjoy it. Sometimes I’m driving to the mountain in the winter, and then it’s an on-the-go thing.
So after your 300 to 500 cups in the morning, how many more cups the rest of the day?
Typically just one. So it’s 301.
What time will you drink your last cup?
That’s usually that 1:30, after-lunch cup of coffee.
What’s your stance on decaf?
I don’t drink a lot of decaffeinated coffee. But I think decaf drinkers are the ones drinking coffee for the way it tastes — not for the buzz, not for the caffeine. So I think decaf is very important and we should honor the quality just like caffeinated coffee. But I don’t often drink decaf.
When and why did you start drinking coffee?
I started drinking coffee in high school. Just because I liked it. I think initially I drank flavored drinks. My parents were Starbucks loyalists, so I think I really wanted to like coffee, especially growing up in the Seattle area. I had to kind of ease my way into it. But I’d say by the time I graduated high school I would just drink black coffee.
Describe the most memorable cup of coffee you’ve ever had.
Maybe it’s a cop out, but again I just love tasting something I’ve never tasted before. That day we get a sample that’s unlike anything I’ve ever had before, I’m pretty excited about that coffee for a while. Until something else rolls around that can open my eyes like that. I can’t think of anything specifically right now. Recently this Timor was one that really stood out to us on the table and I’ve been really excited about it ever since. But a new one might come up next week and that’ll be the one that I’m most excited about.
To submit your own My Morning Cup entry, e-mail Matt Viser at email@example.com.