Chris McAuley: The Sprudge Twenty Interview
Welcome to The Sprudge Twenty Interviews presented by Pacific Barista Series. For a complete list of 2023 Sprudge Twenty honorees, please visit sprudge.com/twenty.
"Chris McAuley is long overdue to get recognition. They are the kindest and most generous person, who is always doing their best to make sure marginalized baristas have what they need to thrive. They run Getchusomegear: organizing gearboxes for marginalized baristas, always working with companies to make sure competitors and baristas can attend big events, and recently ran a merch fundraiser for me and two great friends to make rent when our shops were closed for the holidays. Chris McAuley represents the true power of kindness, leadership, and community within the coffee industry."
Nominated by Brit Sims
What is the quality you like best about coffee?
I like coffee because coffee people are my people! I’ve never been the type of guy that's great at making friends or making eye contact… but building community in coffee has helped me find people that are just like me, neurodiverse as hell! I feel like that's the magical sauce that keeps me around. The solidarity is unreal.
There were moments in the past two years that would have caused me to spontaneously combust five years ago. The love and friendship, and unwavering support from the people I met doing coffee things with Getchu lifted me up and kept me safer.
What was your first coffee job?
I was a barista at a cafe called "Royal Bean" across from the college I went to for a while. Back then, we made frappuccinos on an Island Oasis machine and saved all of our extra espresso shots in a big bucket and called it "Toddy". I can still hear the soy milk screeches from the steam wand.
What is your current role in coffee?
I currently work for a company that designs and manufactures coffee gear, which is the most fun and challenging gig I’ve ever had. I also still do things with Getchu. New stuff is coming up this year on the Getchusomegear front. Stay tuned!
Did you experience a "god shot" or life-changing moment of coffee revelation early in your life?
Oh, it was definitely when I had a gig at a local cafe a few years ago. I worked on a team of baristas that really wanted to nerd out and practice coffee things. When leadership was approached about giving pour-over kits to everyone that wanted one, the answer was no—but the response to that was Getchusomegear! I’m not sure if I’ve ever summarized the evil Getchu origin story so quickly.
What issue in coffee do you care about most? What cause or element in coffee drives you?
I think the heart of what drives me to keep doing stuff in coffee (and in general, I reckon) is the desire for my comrades to always have what they need.
Do you often make coffee at home?
I have an 8-cup electric w/a cone-shaped basket that I use every morning. I probably make three or four pour-overs throughout the day. It's mostly half-caf.
What is your favorite song to brew coffee to?
Jazmine Sullivan – Need U Bad & Drugs – Lil Kim.
What is your idea of coffee happiness?
Thriving wages for baristas and producer; every organization, event planner, and cafe owner developing and enforcing a code of conduct (hey, a guy can dream); normalizing the idea of making your own path when the usual routes don't work for you; coffee companies not tokenizing marginalized people and casting them aside when they get what they want; getting to taste Maya Crowley's sig bev from USBC again; cafe owners giving gear to their staff if they want it; for all my industry friends to get enough rest; for coffee education to be more affordable; to no longer hear the word "bespoke" as a descriptor; more cat cafes; deeper community care.
Who inspires you in the world of coffee?
This list is so long! Every single gearbox recipient that's trusted us to hook them up with coffee gear and work for them, all of the competitors that shared their journey with me this year, and: Candice Madison, Chelsea Thoumsin (hi babe!), Hyacinth Rios, Maya Crowley, Cydni Patterson, Marissa Childers, Brit Sims, Maxie De Los Santos, Shaa’ista Sabir, Anita Tam, Michelle Johnson—I’d be here forever if I kept going.
If you could drink coffee with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
With my mom and pop, every day if I could. The first time they saw a pour-over dripper, they audibly gasped! Their first glimpse of a gooseneck kettle blew their minds. They’re always down to try something new and can now describe their coffee with words other than "strong or not strong enough." I feel like the ultimate professional/genius/wizard when I make and serve them coffee. Their excitement is never-ending, and it really gives me life.
This feature is part of the Sprudge Twenty Interviews presented by Pacific Barista Series. Watch for more interviews in the coming days. For a complete list of 2023 Sprudge Twenty honorees, please visit sprudge.com/twenty.What is the quality you like best about coffee? What was your first coffee job? What is your current role in coffee? Did you experience a "god shot" or life-changing moment of coffee revelation early in your life? What issue in coffee do you care about most? What cause or element in coffee drives you? Do you often make coffee at home? What is your favorite song to brew coffee to? What is your idea of coffee happiness? Who inspires you in the world of coffee? If you could drink coffee with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why? Thank you.