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Community Spotlight · Getchusomegear, Birmingham, AL

Erica Jackson

While many coffee professionals enter the coffee industry via a part-time job to help support themselves, Erica Jackson entered in a less common way: as a volunteer at a nonprofit coffee shop. The volunteering eventually resulted in a paid gig, which led Erica to develop a fondness for the world of coffee and stay in its orbit.

“What I like most about working in coffee is the mutually beneficial exchange I can have with people through the evaluation, preparation, and service of a beverage that is both complex and plant-derived,” she says.

Currently, Erica works as an educator for Getchusomegear; while the North Carolina-based organization launched with the mission of providing baristas from marginalized communities with coffee equipment, Getchusomegear has been expanding its offerings in recent months. “We are developing some educational materials to enhance and complement our gear boxes,” says Erica. “The pandemic threatens our morale, but we have been able to rally as a team. We are still able to send gear boxes thanks to the perseverance and kindness of USPS workers.”

Erica says she regularly enjoyed Barista Series Oat espresso-based drinks at a previous job at Seeds Coffee Company. When Barista Series launched our Barista Series Challenge in June—in which coffee professionals submitted photos of themselves for a chance to win money for themselves and the charity of their choice—Erica was excited to send in a photo. “I wanted to participate because it seemed like a simple way to invest in myself and an organization that I care about,” she says. “It was also fun to see all of the entries rolling in.”

To her pleasant surprise, she ended up as one of the Barista Series Challenge winners. “Being selected as one of the winners was surreal! I was enthralled!” Erica says. As her prize, Erica earned $500 for herself, as well as $500 toward a charity, which she chose to give to The Loveland Foundation. “I like The Loveland Foundation because it was started by a Black, female anti-racist activist as part of her anti-racism work,” Erica says. “I wanted to support The Loveland Foundation because it serves as a model for women loving women. It is providing free access to necessary mental health care to Black women like me.”

We were excited to learn about Erica’s journey in the coffee world and look forward to seeing the positive impact she continues to make in this industry going forward!

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