Coffee Break

By | April 01, 2018
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We live in a golden-age of coffee. The decades of investment in the quality and traceability of coffee have resulted in an increasing array of nuanced yet flavorful beans which express the terroir of their growing region and bear the fingerprint of a producer’s choice in processing.  Alongside these fresh coffees springs the modern barista, uniquely positioned to champion the entire coffee supply chain, and bring guidance to a beverage which has gained a reputation for precision in preparation. Here are three women who stand as baristas at the forefront of the progressive coffee movement in Milwaukee.


Megan-Annette Reida, Kickapoo Coffee

Find Megan at this bright, airy, 3rd Ward spot where her she projects an urbane wit, and a keen eye towards the mechanics of the café.  With a background in customer service, Megan looks for the “opportunity to help improve someone's day. That motivates my style as a barista now, to not only be friendly and make good tasting beverages, but also to be a source, and aid people to broaden their horizons.”

Coffee Rec: Ethiopia, Kirite

Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. Washed coffees of this style have become the darlings of the progressive coffee community, often prized for their balance of sweetness and acidity. Megan adds, “Grown on a small farm just outside of the well-known Yirgacheffe region. Kirite has this wonderful crisp, bright character. To me it tastes like fresh sweet peaches, a light, black tea, and Meyer lemon juice.”


232 E Erie St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Olivia O’Neill, Stonecreek Coffee Factory Store

Stonecreek’s education and production hub is the stage for Oliva, the store’s barista trainer. “I train new baristas and specialize in milk drink crafting, dialing-in espresso, and creating a great space and experience for customers. Working in the coffee industry and in the café is important to me because I want to make learning about coffee fun, approachable, and accessible to anyone rather than something that’s intimidating.”

Coffee Rec: Rwanda, First Light

In the mid 2000’s USAID, using the insight of specialty coffee buyers, sought to build infrastructure around coffee production. One beneficiary was Dukunde Kawa, an 80% woman-owned coop that won a Sustainability Award from the SCAA. Dukunde Kawa has since become a model for responsible production of quality coffee.  “First Light Rwanda has clear, cherry hard-candy and rosemary flavor notes, with a light body and high brightness. Its juiciness comes out most in an Aeropress. The coffee is extremely well balanced in terms of acidity and sweetness, which made it pretty bomb as espresso too.”

Stonecreek Factory

422 N 5th St, Milwaukee, WI 53203

Cheyenne Raphael Smith, Colectvio Lakefront

After a start at her parents “very ambient little coffee shop in Two Rivers, WI which initially sparked my interest,” Cheyenne made a move to Milwaukee where she works as a freelance illustrator, biology student, and barista trainer at Colectivo’s Lakefront café.

“Helping people navigate the characteristics that fit their palette is exciting to me, maybe because behind my mild resting-bitch face, I’m a people pleaser. I also think that for a customer, a cup of coffee, personally selected, expertly prepared, and responsibly sourced, is growing more and more sought out as a powerful identity tool. Understanding the nuances and terroir of flavor profile and offering customers access through you –  to a coffee’s origin, the people that cultivated it, the biological and processing factors that create the elements they enjoy –  transforms their understanding of the product from price and into value. Value is everything.”

Coffee Rec: Colectivo, Colombia Huijla Las Rosas

“The Las Rosas is a washed Caturra varietal that holds a sweet, apricot-like acidity that is well complimented by a round body and creamy mouthfeel. I think small scale farmers in Colombia's Southern departments are producing more and more high-quality coffees that can be appreciated by both avid coffee drinkers as well as everyone else. This coffee in particular comes to us from a women-produced group that not only cultivates great coffee, but is also working towards initiatives that implement leadership and gender equity.”

Colectivo Lakefront

1701 N Lincoln Memorial Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Article from Edible Milwaukee at
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