Community Spotlight · Austin, TX
Thor Himle was new to the specialty-coffee world in 2005 when he landed a job at Starbucks—a position he accepted largely because it offered health insurance for part-time employees. “On my first day, I was introduced to the coffee master program, which taught basic-level tastings in coffee,” Thor says. “I was hooked! I was blown away that coffee could be more than just a cup of coffee.”
That experience started Thor on his coffee journey—both as an industry member and a passionate consumer—that continues to this day. This path has taken him from his hometown of Austin, Texas, to Portland, Ore., and in 2020, back to Austin, where he currently resides with his wife and children.
Thor, who serves as a Pacific Barista Series Brand Ambassador, says working in coffee helped him meet like-minded people who valued the culinary experience of coffee—and also shared similar interests. “Of those folx, almost all of them valued a funky, enlightened, artsy lifestyle that spoke to me,” Thor says. “It allowed me to find myself because of the warm, welcoming, and genuine environment.”
Enamored with coffee and its culture, Thor went on to work in several roles for different specialty-coffee companies, including program manager and café manager. Most recently, he served as an equipment technician and sales representative for BinxCorp in Austin.
In addition to his coffee jobs, Thor has served behind the scenes organizing coffee events. He says that once he discovered a sense of connection through the coffee world, “then I found myself committed to providing the same for others. This led to me helping with coffee community events.” While living in Portland, he co-founded the Portland Coffee Social Club, which hosted throwdowns and other community-building events around the Portland, Ore., area.
A veteran behind the bar, Thor says he first started working with Barista Series products early in his coffee career while serving as the head barista at Walton’s Fancy and Staple in Austin. He says the shop was working with a different soy milk previously, but when they switched to Barista Series, it was a game-changer. “Before Barista Series, we’d rush to put a lid on plant-based beverages, especially if it was ordered along with a traditional dairy beverage, because they couldn’t compare, visually,” Thor says.
During the pandemic, Thor took a new position outside of the coffee world. Though he no longer works in the industry he has long loved, Thor continues to be active in the coffee realm, attending virtual events, networking with local roasters, and of course, serving as a Barista Series Brand Ambassador!