Community Spotlight · La Colombe Coffee, Los Angeles, CA
About five years ago, Kain Adams made a decision. After becoming hooked on lattes at a 24-hour café near their college, Kain determined the world of coffee was more enticing than their studies, and left school to pursue a job in a café. Now five years in, Kain remains enamored with the caffeinated world. “I’m still excited to be a part of specialty coffee!” Kain says. “I love that our industry is constantly evolving and advancing, but it’s still small enough that you’ll probably end up working with your coffee heroes at some point in your career.”
While Kain is no longer a barista, they get to interact with baristas regularly. Kain serves as a head judge and committee member of World Coffee Events, where they preside over barista competitions. And in their day job as La Colombe’s regional retail trainer for California, Kain has regular contact with the baristas who staff La Colombe’s Los Angeles and San Diego cafés. “A typical week for me is made up of individual and group coffee training, regular cuppings, and dialing in new coffees in the cafés,” Kain says.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic curtailing social interaction, Kain is currently doing most of their work remotely. “Now that I’m quarantined at home, I find myself missing the luxury of a coffee made by someone else, the incredible view from the training lab, and the team I work with,” Kain says. “Once I’m back at work, what I’m most looking forward to is my regular meeting with the lead baristas in each café.”
Of course, many coffee workers have not been so fortunate as to keep their jobs in the wake of the pandemic; while Kain feels fortunate to continue working from home, they have been concerned about coffee workers’ livelihoods—particularly their food security. “When COVID hit Los Angeles, it seemed like overnight most of the coffee community had been laid off or furloughed,” Kain says. “My thoughts were with the community who were navigating unemployment. With so much uncertainty and stress, the last thing that coffee workers should have to worry about is food security.”
Kain reached out to us at Pacific Barista Series, and we gave them a budget to provide pantry essentials for coffee workers who had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Kain then partnered with Los Angeles coffee powerhouse Go Get Em Tiger (GGET) to place a large food order, assemble boxes, and deliver them to locations across the city for impacted coffee workers to pick up. “It was a privilege working with Pacific and GGET to help coffee workers receive a box of food,” Kain says. “The coffee community has given me so much; this was just a small way for me to give back. I hope that it’s not too long before I can see folks back in their jobs in cafés and roasteries.”
Kain says Pacific Barista Series has long been the industry standard for plant-based beverages—and works hard to maintain that reputation. “What keeps me loyal to Pacific is their commitment to improvement,” Kain says. “Barista Series was the best of the alternative milk you could get when I started my career, and it’s only gotten better. Pacific is constantly seeking feedback and developing each product according to the needs of specialty-coffee cafés everywhere.”