Once upon a time, there was an earnest woman who lived in a cottage in the Missouri countryside with her red-bearded husband and small daughter. Toying with opening a coffeehouse in the middle of nowhere, she reached out to a dyno-man she hardly knew, and landed an internship in beverage marketing. Which led to a job in beverage marketing, which led to two years of fun. Across the continent (lots of times), rapidly learning business practices (sometimes the hard way), and full of the confusion that arises from changing careers in a halfhearted way (twice), giving birth, and marrying, all in short succession, that woman pursued her work with the dyno-man.
The woman, of course, is me, and the dyno-man, of course, is Jason Burton, founder of The LAB and overall great guy. After two years working for the man who never sleeps and with the indomitable Sadie, it is with mixed emotion that we make the announcement: Emily McIntyre is leaving The LAB. Don’t worry, I won’t go far. My husband, Michael, and I are starting our very own coffee consulting business, Catalyst Coffee Consulting, and I’ll continue working with Jason, Sadie, and The LAB team on a variety of projects including the West Coast Caffeine Crawls.
Bear with me as I wax poetic over a few choice moments. The two years I spent answering emails and leading Caffeine Crawls have been among the crazy, vibrant, and rapid-fire in my life. Let’s start with my very first Caffeine Crawl, in San Francisco.
The face that accompanies me on most of my travels. We were a young family, enamored of the West Coast, and a brief stop in Portland on our way to help lead the San Francisco Caffeine Crawl helped us decide to move here. Pictured, sharing a cappuccino with my girly at Public Domain.
Being from the country has its advantages: every new city is a new love affair. No less with beautiful, quirky San Francisco. The Crawl marked the end of my internship and the beginning of a dynamic job with the guy on the right. The guy on the left is my travel partner.
Then we moved to LA for 3 months. Where I began organizing the San Diego Crawl and met wonderful coffee people throughout Southern California. Also, look at that face! It was emails in the morning, beach at lunch, social media at naptime.
Kansas City Caffeine Crawl. Intoxicated with coffee, ice cream, chocolate, and the dizzying round of enthusiastic people, bussing from one side of the city to another, and jamming at the Barista Nation after party with folks from all over the country. All the months of hard work coalesced and my job with The LAB felt perfect for me.
Over the course of my time with The LAB, I’ve worked with some incredible clients, but The San Franciscan Roaster Co. will always be a cherished relationship—‘my first’. As we drove across the country (chased by a blizzard) to move to Portland, we stopped in to meet the team. My daughter brought her princess.
The LAB’s #BevLife campaign really started taking off around the time I landed several cocktail articles with Serious Eats and other publications. Too many great experiences to mention, but showing up at the brand-new Pepe le Moko and meeting cocktail great Jeff Morgenthaler tops most.
Did I mention we moved to Portland? Working with The LAB hasn’t just been fun: it’s given me and my small family the chance to move as the wind listeth while we figured ourselves out. Shortly after we moved to The Rose City, a good old Midwest-style snowstorm hit. We still got out for coffee.
SCAA. Representing The LAB at this industry event was the perfect platform for connecting with coffee folks large and small. Add to that a weekend with my guy (also a coffee pro) minus the kid, and it was enchanted. Drinks highlights included Slate Coffee & Espresso Vivace, along with cocktails at Local 360.
Sacramento was the first Caffeine Crawl I planned and executed (with Sadie’s able help) without Jason present. It was also my first time on TV and it turned out my interviewer and I had some similar tastes in reading… two English majors gabbing about gender politics in Jane Austen, check! The event was a huge success and we came away inspired for the Portland Crawl.
My teammates at The LAB are constantly pushing me to innovate on every level. French toast with Angostura bitters, bourbon, and Domain de Canton certainly fit the bill. (But credit goes to my guy, who isn’t just a talented coffee roaster but also possesses a killer palate.)
My list could go on for pages, but then we’d all be bored. It is with thankfulness and a sense of humor that I make this next step. The LAB was one of the best things that happened to me, and I look forward to working with Jason, Sadie, and the team for years, project after project. Thanks for everything, you crazy kids! - Emily