People of Houston Coffee
We want to know more about YOU - the people who make up the Houston coffee industry!
This month we invited Norma Odegard of Boomtown Coffee for a simple 5 question interview.
Norma Odegard is Houston’s nominee for SCA US Chapter Community Coordinator. Her focus is on Parenting in the Coffee Industry. She is currently working as a General Manager at Boomtown Coffee Main Street, and has a 4 year old daughter with her husband Cory, who is also a coffee professional.
Coffee introduced me to …. many amazing and talented people in this industry. Some of my dearest friends, coffee family, and most importantly, my husband and devoted father to our beautiful 4 year old daughter. Additionally, not only the wonderful people I've met, coffee introduced me to a community committed to the culture and passion of the craft of specialty coffee.
Once someone told me that coffee… is not a career, it is merely a job. For many perhaps, it is, and have only worked in coffee as a stepping stone. I started in coffee while going to school. It was easy to balance with a class schedule, fairly low demand work and the bonus of free coffee to get me through long nights of studying. After graduation, I found myself loving this industry, figuring out how to apply my degree to coffee. I started as a barista, worked my way up to shift supervisor, then assistant manager, to general manager and training specialist for many coffee companies here in Houston and Seattle, where I'm from. All of that just in the operations side of coffee. So, for anyone that's been told "coffee is just a job", it's not. I found it to be a fulfilling and rewarding career.
What I would like to see in the coffee industry is...the ability for more people to be financially stable. From the farmer, investing their land and livelihoods, growing and harvesting coffee in unforgiving climates to the trained specialist, crafting and upholding the highest standards to best represent the final product. Every link in the chain. Coffee served in the United States, travels many thousands of miles, with months and years of investment, and has been touched by many hands. However, the cost of the final product we provide in specialty coffee shops does not always match the investment of every link in the chain that it took for the coffee to get here. Thus making it very difficult for individuals in specialty coffee to make a living wage that is sustainable for affording health insurance, raising a family, going to college, buying a home or experiencing the world. I would like to see the market reflect the intangible value of the specialty coffees being produced and served in our shops to provide the opportunity of sustaining our industry for the next hundred years.
Best time to drink coffee...is anytime! But my favorite time to drink coffee is waking up before my 4 year old, quietly making a pour over, tip toeing to my couch, sipping a savoring the moment.
My super power is...being a mom working in coffee. To all y'all parents holding it down in coffee, you are a super hero too!