Master Barista Lauren has been with Axum for over seven years and was born and raised right here in Orlando, Florida. We sat down with Lauren and asked her all sorts of questions, and by the end of this moving interview our hearts were once again overflowing, as they do each time we interact with Lauren. Read on to see why it’s our people, the baristas of Axum, who make our coffee spaces and experiences what they are: warm, inviting, genuine and full of goodness.
What is a fun fact about yourself that many people wouldn’t know?
I’d say my numerous hobbies are interesting! If I’m not working you will likely find me baking, gardening, refurbishing furniture, knitting, obsessively buying house plants, and most recently, learning how to embroider. I have also dabbled in playing the ukulele and even making balloon animals!
What music is on repeat right now?
I honestly haven’t been listening to much music lately, though I have been binge-listening to The Popcast with Knox and Jamie. I’m sure other drivers on the road think I’m a crazy person for how hard I laugh while listening to this podcast.
Why Axum? And why for seven years now?
Axum has such a special place in my heart. I have always loved the community aspect of the job—all the way from my incredible co-workers to the regulars we serve every day. Axum has almost a Stars Hollow feel [the idyllic fictional setting for the TV show Gilmore Girls], a safe place where everyone knows and cares for one another.
What is your favorite drink to create?
My favorite drink to create is an off-menu item called an Undertow. It’s a layered drink with sweetened milk at the bottom and shots of espresso poured on top. The top of the drink is warm and strong, while the bottom is cold and sweet. It’s small but has just enough of a punch that it gives me enough energy to start my workday.
Who would you most like to sit down to enjoy a cup of coffee with at Axum?
I would love for my Nana to join me at Axum for a cup of coffee. So much has happened in my life since she passed away. I’ve gotten married, bought a house, finished school, and am beginning the process of adoption. I would love to share all these things with her and hear her say one more time how proud she is of me.
What has been your favorite Axum memory so far, and why?
My favorite Axum memory is from a few years ago. I was working the bar with my friend Abby on a Saturday morning (which you know can get a little crazy at times). We both look over and see this woman that looked so much like Julie Andrews. We decided that if someone thought one of us looked as beautiful as Julie Andrews we would want to know! So, we decided to call her over and tell her.
She blushed, said that this was one of the biggest compliments she had ever received. After learning that she too loved Julie as much as Abby and I (and after some serious coaxing) she sang “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music for us. Abby and I chimed in, singing with her as best we could.
I think this moment sticks out to me most because it shows that my job is much more important than making a good cup of coffee or mastering latte art. It’s more about the ability to slow down and connect with the people around me. Coffee is meant to be enjoyed and is made better with good company.
Leave us with your favorite quote right now.
“I am ready to face any challenge that might be foolish enough to face me.” — Dwight Schrute. (The Office )
Thank you, Lauren, for taking the time to share your heart and inspire us all with your perspective, passions and love for coffee and Axum.