Meet a Barista: Abbie Smith

Abbie Smith of Cathy’s Coffee Bar and Dia Doce talks about people, coffee and cupcakes.

Photo by: Amy Tucker
Interview by: Dan Mathers

What brought you to West Chester? The university. My best friend and I toured the school together and loved it.We’re originally from Pittsburgh.

You still in school? I only went until the first semester of my sophomore year. I intended to move to Portland, but financial issues arose, so I was unable to stay there, and I ended up here full-time at the coffee shop, which was a blessing in disguise.

And you were part time before? Yeah. I started my freshman year.

What’s your preferred way of preparing coffee? I like our cold brew black,or just a double shot on ice. For straight black coffee, those could not be more different flavors. Yes, but when you pour espresso over ice, and it makes it less aggressive.

And what’s your favorite coffee bean? The darkest one you can get — not a fan of light roasts at all. Hobo Ed’s is the best in West Chester. It’s a medium to dark roast that we use for our cold brew and our hot coffee, everything but our espresso. He’s local, and when I was in Portland for a while — despite that area being known for coffee — I missed Hobo Ed’s.

What came first, your job or your passion for coffee? The coffee. It started with my grandmother who used to dip all the grand kids’ binkies in coffee because she didn’t want to ever be alone at the breakfast table. And it worked: every time we’re there, we’re all at her table having a cup of coffee.

What’s the best part of the job: cup-cakes or coffee? Oooh. That’s tough. Personally speaking, I love the cupcakes —hands down my favorite is chocolate chip cookie dough, I’d eat that every day — but I definitely have to go with the coffee.

Do you have a good number regulars? Absolutely. I pride myself on remembering as many orders as I can. It’s hard to walk down the street and not get stopped.

Is that a good thing or bad? There’s something really interesting about get-ting to know what drives people, and I get a lot of that here. That regular relationship you build with people where they have a feeling of comfort, where someone is willing to listen to them. I feel like you don’t get a lot of that these day; we’re too into technology. It’s nice to have a work environment where I can interact and be a human being with other human beings.

What’s something you wish more people knew about the shop? I would say a lot of people don’t realize that we have wifi and people can come in and work. That’s how I started — coming in and doing schoolwork here. We love when people feel like they can come hang for a long time.

Sort of like your living room away from home. Yeah. Even for me, when I’m not working, I’m usually at the shop