Jessica Calloway, Treating Tastebuds By the Cup
Coffee talk is the best talk according to Barista Jessica Calloway, who will make whatever taste treat your taste buds desire.
Barista, Building One Cafeteria
Organization She Works For:
Code 100, Office of the Director
Years at Goddard:
Years in Current Position:
What do you do and what is most interesting about your role here at Goddard?
I create coffee beverages for the Starbucks in the Building One cafeteria, which opened the end of May. I enjoy making someone’s day with a delicious beverage while having an uplifting conversation in Starbucks’ signature comfortable, relaxing environment. We have a drink that caters to every single taste bud out there! Whatever drink you want, I’ll make it to your liking – sweet or not so sweet, whatever you want. I make about 30–40 individual beverages for breakfast and then make almost another 25 individual beverages throughout the rest of the day. So you see that I make a lot of drinks. Whether you’re my first or last customer of the day, you’re getting a quality drink.
Before you ask, let me explain our beverages. A macchiato is Italian for “marked,” which refers to the shot of espresso that sits on top of the coffee. In a latte, the espresso is on the bottom but in frappuccinos the espresso is blended. All of our coffees come hot or iced.
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Photo of Jessica Calloway at the Starbucks in Bldg. One. Credit: NASA/W. Hrybyk
We offer all kinds of syrup including a sugar-free raspberry. We use a commercial-grade, Italian espresso machine. Each cup is made individually including grinding, pressing, and then loading the coffee.
I’m also the go to person and have a supporting role in just about everything that goes on here. When a cashier is out, I have to take over.
What have you learned as a barista?
You don’t mess with family, money or people’s coffee! People have complete faith in their first cup, their midday cup, and their “I’m about to go into a meeting” cup of coffee.
What makes a good leader? What makes a good team player?
I supervise the Starbucks’ station. I praise everyone’s strengths but also gently let them know when and how to do things better.
A good team player is willing to go above and beyond their job.
Is there something surprising about your background that people do not generally know?
I’m due to deliver my baby daughter, Jaelynn, on December 18, so right now I cannot drink caffeinated coffee and have to enjoy my coffee vicariously. My favorite coffee drink is a caramel mocha.
Why did you choose your profession?
Coffee talk is the best talk. You learn a lot about people while sipping hot coffee. And I do like talking to people!
Who is the most interesting, inspiring, or amazing person you have met or worked with at Goddard?
A couple is one of my regulars. He is partially deaf and she is blind. They come here together for breakfast and lunch every day. What she can’t see, he describes for her. What he can’t hear, she explains to him. They are beautiful together and they inspire me.
What do you enjoy most about working at Goddard?
I love my regulars and their variety. It is exciting that I already have regulars who come here specifically for my beverages. If we were all the same, Crayola® could be out of business. There would be only one color in the box. Everyone gets the Monday blues but me because my regulars and I share what we did over the weekend. I just had a sonogram of my baby, which was a big topic.
If you weren’t in your current profession, what would you be doing?
I’d like to be a cop. I have a superpower mentality. I want to go out and save the day. For now, many people believe my coffee does that.
Is there something surprising about you, your hobbies, interests, activities outside of work that people do not generally know?
I have a six-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son so we spend a lot of time at playgrounds and museums. When I’m not playing with them, I love to cook. As a young girl, my grandmother from Baton Rouge taught me how to cook Cajun, so the spicier the better. My favorite food is gumbo. I also know Southern cooking–smothered this and fried that.
Do you have a favorite TV show?
My favorite TV shows are “Bizarre Foods” and “No Reservations,” both of which are on The Travel Channel and fuse travel and food.
Where is your favorite place in the entire world and why?
Anywhere near a calm body of water with nice trees. I can sit there for hours, let my thoughts catch me, and let a nice breeze blow.
What one word or phrase best describes you?
Quality over quantity.
What is your “seven word memoir”?
A cup half empty is always full.
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Elizabeth M. Jarrell
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.