In the lead up to This Coffee Thing #1, we've sent out a brief survey to our presenters and panelists. Thea Heilbron started making coffee in New Mexico and now manages Cafe Grumpy’s 20th St. location. She’s one of the organizers of This Coffee Thing and, after hearing her talk about customer service while we were planning our Can’t Live Without ‘Em panel, we realized that she absolutely had to be on it.
Who are one or two coffee heroes of yours?
The two influential people that I admire most in the coffee community are some of my favorites; I get to work and hang out with Cheryl Kingan (green coffee buyer, Cafe Grumpy) and Carrollann Oberhansly (wholesale barista trainer, Cafe Grumpy). They both keep me regularly informed and questioning practices surrounding all things coffee, and also give information to any interested party in a very approachable way. I am in a constant state of learning because of these two badass coffee professionals, plus they're just plain amazing on every level.
What musician most makes music most like the way you make coffee?
I think it really depends on the type of brew method, but I'm going to go with The Breeders because even though they wail on those power chords (like making high volume espresso drinks), there's an overall sweetness to their voices and solos (which equates to the taste and overall aesthetic of the drink).
What's your favorite horror movie?
I love horror movies! I'm super into all movies by Rob Zombie, I think he's a really underappreciated horror filmmaker. His music selection for particular sequences is perfect and he makes the audience empathize with the bad guys which is no easy feat. I just watched American Psycho again, also a great film. I'll never be able to see Elijah Wood in the same way because of that movie Maniac, he is perpetually terrifying.
What scares you most about coffee?
There are a few things that scare me about coffee, typically it revolves around wrangling all the variables that go in to each beverage. Also I think a lot about the importance of highlighting our coffee to its highest potential in order to honor the producers and the amount of careful selection that goes in to each crop. As a manager my goal is to keep baristas connected to the changing technology, the source, and to appreciate the people that make it possible for us to play with high quality coffee in this awesome city.