Katherine Ebert, barista | Best of Whidbey 2008

The room is lined with rows and rows of bottles, cups, and grumbling machines. Just figuring out how everything works looks complicated, not to mention remembering how much of what to mix while entertaining customers. Add starting at 5 a.m. daily and being voted “best barista” for 2008, and there’s how Katherine Ebert rolls.

Ebert, 24, has been a barista at the Espresso Connection outside Marketplace for three years. She did some barista volunteer work in high school, but this is her first real barista job.

“It’s fun and rewarding. I love it!” Ebert exclaimed, the epitome of vivacity.

While Ebert makes steaming milk and remembering every ingredient per drink look easy, it’s really not so simple.

“A lot of people think it’s easier to be a barista than it really is. You have to make sure your shots are right and the milk is steamed right and the flavors are right. There’s a lot of technical things,” Ebert explained.

“You have to be able to have a good head on your shoulders and lots of memory and patience.”

When customers enter, Ebert is quick to greet them like good friends. Her friendliness and spunk never run low.

“I don’t see this as just a paycheck. It defines who I am. People only see me as I am in here, and then when they see me outside, they are like, ‘that’s the coffee girl’,” Ebert said.

Ebert’s favorite drink is the Javarama, a blended coffee drink. She prefers cold drinks and has her own creative names for all the drinks. However, some of her customers get too creative with names.

“It’s funny when people come in and name shots and flavors on and on and make the drink sound so complicated when it’s really not,” Ebert said, laughing. She calls these customers the “Mocha Latte People.”

“I just like to have fun with people. And I make everyone’s drink like I’d make my own,” she said.

Ebert enjoys her job and loves her customers. When Ebert is working, no one leaves the little Espresso Connection stand outside Marketplace without a delicious drink and a big smile.

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