Erin Meister, Customer Relations RepresentativeErin Meister—who goes by Meister—is a New Jerseyite by birth, a Bostonian by schooling, and a New Yorker by choice. She's also part Oklahoman by association, thanks to her husband, and a big OU fan (Boomer Sooner!). Before joining Team Counter Culture, she was a barista, barista trainer, and coffeeshop manager, and she made house calls to teach people how to use their home espresso machines. She is also a writer and copy editor, and spends a great deal of time hunched over a desk looking things up in the dictionary.
Q: What coffee are you currently drinking?
The 21st de Septiembre—a perennial favorite.
Q: Choose your favorite coffee and brewing method.
The coffee that blew me away recently was Isidro Neira’s microlot from Valle de Santuario, and I’m really partial to Chemexes, which I discovered while desperately trying to avoid the coffee being brewed in the break room at my last desk job.
Q: Who at Counter Culture Coffee would you most like to arm-wrestle, and why?
I will arm wrestle anyone as long as no one challenges me to a thumb-wrestling contest. I am more self-conscious of having tiny thumbs than I am of having puny arms.
Q: What is your favorite book?
I’m pretty bonkers about Truman Capote; my favorite book of his is The Grass Harp.
Q: What keeps you busy outside of work?
My husband and I are avid vintage-clothes collectors, so we spend a lot of time at flea markets and secondhand shops. A lot of our travel is based around where the coolest vintage stores are. I can also often be found flipping through Martha Stewart Living, tidying our teensy Manhattan apartment, and avoiding updating my blog.
Q: Share an interesting fact you've learned about coffee while working at Counter Culture Coffee and name the person from whom you learned it.
Rich taught me that coffee grounds make really good worm food. I do wonder if it makes them wriggle faster.
Q: When you were 8 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Half Betazoid, half human—just like Deanna Troi.
Q: If you could beam yourself anywhere in the world for your lunch break, where would you go, and what would you eat?
I would be first in line at the Chacarero stand in Boston’s Downtown Crossing, and I would be picking up sandwiches for everybody. Extra green beans, please!
Q: Which Counter Culture Coffee customer is most likely to see you outside of work?
The General Greene, because I’m obsessed with their butternut-squash soup. The iced cream ain’t bad, neither!
Q: Meister, you've been working in coffee for a long time. When, where, and how did you get your start?
My first coffee shop job was during college, at an Espresso Royale in Boston (where I spent almost four years tormenting people by playing Neil Diamond albums every shift). After graduating, I moved to New York to work for a magazine, discovered David Schomer’s Espresso Coffee: Professional Techniques,and fell in with a great specialty coffee hop in Manhattan called Joe, for which I eventually left my full-time journo job. I did recently interview Liza Minnelli, and I still review the occasional zombie movie, but now most of my brain power is spent thinking of ways to caffeinate people.
Q: On one of your websites, you state that you enjoy "Truman Capote, road trips, moving-picture shows, [and] salty snacks" among other things. What's your favorite salty snack for road trips? And which motion-picture adaptation of a Capote work is your favorite?
I’m kind of a pretzelholic, though nothing beats tater tots from a Sonic drive-in. And, I think that the 1967 version of In Cold Blood remains one of the most effectively terrifying films ever made. What a light-hearted answer with which to end this interview!