When Intelligentsia Venice opens in early March, the cutting-edge coffeehouse will staff 9 baristas, 4 barbacks and 3 dishwashers. Intelligentsia Director of Innovation Kyle Glanville already hired Christopher “Nicely” Abel Alameda from Seattle’s Espresso Vivace. To fill out the rest of the Venice staff, Glanville recently advertised on all the coffee boards and on Craigslist.
Glanville is effectively Intelligentsia’s West Coast head of operations, and he’s the person primarily responsible for Venice hiring decisions. He said, “I’m looking for people with no coffee experience who know about Intelligentsia who are willing to scrub toilets, if need be…earnest, hard-working, strong solid people.”
“Even high level baristas have crazy bad habits or theories that haven’t been tested,” says Glanville. “There’s always chipping away with anybody…The other thing with really talented baristas is they always want to be perceived as the best in the coffee bar, and I don’t want anybody to be the best.”
He already has a manager in mind, so don’t bother applying for that position. He said, “For the manager, I was looking for somebody with a culinary background who’s great with presentation…rigid about cleanliness, doing your work.”
Glanville will begin “chipping away” and training new hires when barista “boot camp” begins February 16 at Intelligentsia’s Glassell Park roasting works. He’ll conduct 40 hours a week of training, including “Palate, customer service, coffee prep, speed, knowledge, espresso, brewed coffee and home brewing.” Towards the end of training, he and the manager will bring in barbacks and dishwashers for real-time service trials. “The idea is to get people thinking critically about making coffee and how they present themselves,” says Glanville. At the end of training, all nine hires will have to pass tests to become “baristas” in Intelligentsia’s eyes.