The Pilot's Blog

The Roasterie Cafe Barista Spotlight: Skylar Cowdry

The Roasterie prides itself in providing exceptional air-roasted coffee to discerning coffee-lovers throughout Kansas City. Even more than that, we are proud of our team of baristas who go through grueling coffee education to learn how to brew the perfect cup of coffee in the most efficient ways.

This month we are excited to spotlight a very special member of the team, Skylar Cowdry. Skylar is a barista at our Brookside café. He is also a full time student, a versatile musician, a kind hearted member of the Kansas City community, and soon to be a Brewer’s Cup competitor. We recently sat down with Skylar to learn more about him and what led him to The Roasterie.

skylar

Are you a Kansas City native?
Yes, I grew up in Kansas City.

Missouri or Kansas?
I grew up on the Kansas side, but I live in Missouri now and I like it a lot. I lived in Mission, but also kind of Overland Park and Shawnee, that area. Basically, depending on whatever website I was ordering from, I landed in one of those.

What is your family situation?
My dad is a serial entrepreneur. He helps a lot of different businesses. My mom works for the local magazine “Evolving.” She is also a Tarot card reader – she works at Ren Fest every year.

Siblings?
I have four brothers and one sister, and I am the youngest by 12 years.

Wow!
Yeah.

What do you do outside of your job at The Roasterie?
I am a full time student at UMKC, double majoring in entrepreneurship and marketing.

You are BUSY! I’m sure you don’t have much time outside of work and school, but do you have any hobbies?
I am a musician, actually. I play drums, guitar, bass, piano, and I also sing.

You can do everything! Are you in a band?
Actually, I’m so busy right now that I mostly just do solo songwriting. I don’t play a lot of shows or anything currently, but I record online.

Can we find your recordings anywhere?
Yeah, the website is www.soundcloud.com/SkylarJCowdry.

Have you always been interested in coffee?
Well, I was home schooled –

Whoa! We should start there.
Ha, yes. I was home schooled in a secular group called “Learn,” which was also the name of my first band! We had a weekly Wednesday meet up group, basically used to socialize all the home schooled kids, and these meetings took place at The Roasterie. So between the ages of 12 and 14, I visited The Roasterie once a week.

Oh! So The Roasterie is actually a pretty big part of your history?
It has been in my life for a long time, for sure. Then, about nine months ago, I was looking for a job on Craigslist, of all places, and found that The Roasterie was hiring. I thought that would be pretty cool. I had never worked in coffee before, and when I got hired I just worked really hard, and continue to do so, and through The Roasterie I have become really interested in the larger coffee world.

You are taking place in a coffee competition soon, correct?
Yes, the Big Central Brewer’s Cup, which takes place in Minneapolis from November 7-9. It is a competition highlighting the fact that everyone can brew at home, and it also highlights the customer service side of when you go into a coffee shop. So there are two different aspects to it. One single person can brew a great cup of coffee for a friend or a guest. But it’s also about being a friendly person in your craft.

What do you love most about being a barista?
My favorite thing about being in coffee is that it combines science, artistry, and community. I have met more people at my job than anyone else.

Any regulars you want to give a shout out to?
Oh, there are just too many to name. I wouldn’t want to leave anyone out. Just this morning I was talking to this guy Bryan that always comes in and talks to me about his art. He’s a film guy, basically. He makes music videos for different local musicians around town. He’s just a really cool guy. We talk about different things; art, tattoos, music. There’s another customer, Kat, who comes in every day and always gets a 12oz dine-in mocha. She’s always talking to me about different life experiences that she’s had, she has a video blog, things like that.

What are your goals after the Brewer’s Cup?
I’ve recently started training to become our Brew Bar trainer. So, training people to brew. I’m excited.

What is your favorite Roasterie coffee?
So my favorite coffee right now is the one that I’m actually taking to Brewer’s Cup later, which is the Mexican La Bomba. It’s really, really good. It’s really atypical for a Mexican coffee because it’s not spicy; it has the best of Costa Rican coffees and Ethiopian coffees. It’s light, has vibrant acidity, but also like fruity and chocolaty notes.

What is one final thing you would like our readers to know about you?
Ha, anything? That’s a lot of pressure.

I’m sorry! Anything you like.
I could give you my life motto, I guess. It sounds corny, but I guess I think the most important thing in life is to maintain a good balance between seriousness and silliness.

Next time you stop for a coffee at our Brookside café, make sure you say “hello” to Skylar Cowdry, get an expertly brewed cup of coffee, congratulate him on his acceptance into the Brewer’s Cup, and if you like, sit down and tell him a little about your day, he would love to hear it.

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