The Street Mix - Vol 2

Congratulations Are in Order!

Congratulations to Carrie Swain, new cafe manager at our Fair location in Santa Cruz!

Carrie grew up on the east coast and lived in New England until June of last year when she packed up and moved to Santa Cruz. Carrie got adventurous with it and drove cross-country with her partner of ten years and their dog. When she lived back east, she worked in the beer and wine world, working first as a bartender at a craft beer bar and then later as a beer/wine purchaser at a locally focused grocery store. Carrie is loving California, and has been having a fantastic time exploring everything that the west coast has to offer - great food, beer, wine, and coffee. She also loves hiking and has been making her way through a giant list of state and National parks on her to-see bucket list. In her free time, Carrie loves to knit and has recently taken up leatherwork. We’re so glad you made the trek out to the West Coast (best coast!) and to have you in your role. Congratulations again, Carrie!

Congratulations to Seth Wright, our new cafe manager at University in Palo Alto!

Seth has been in the third wave coffee scene since 2012, starting at Chromatic Coffee and Bellano Coffee. While working at coffee shops, he enjoyed coaching swimming for about 10 years. While working as a barista, Seth was eager for a bit more responsibility and asked for some additional tasks to help free up the shop’s owners’ plates, and his trajectory took off from there! He then moved into a management position and learned A LOT about how to communicate with people and help them grow. (Ya love to see it!)

Seth tried moving away from coffee for a few months but realized he missed the culture, the craft, and the customers/friends he met throughout his journey. (Welcome back, Seth!) In his free time Seth enjoys traveling to national parks, hiking, cycling and a bit of film photography. Say hey and a big congrats to Seth the next time you find yourself in Palo Alto!

A big welcome to Lisa Cappelloni, our new Head of Marketing! Lisa discovered her love of espresso while living in Italy in her 20's, where she learned first-hand the beauty of embracing coffee breaks several times a day - a tradition she (happily) carries with her to this day. Lisa has been working in branding and marketing for the past fifteen years, largely across retail organizations, from start-ups to bigger corporations. In her down time, you can catch Lisa at the beach collecting shells, baking, gardening, wine tasting, and spending time with her husband and toddler. She's super excited to join the Verve crew, and thanks everyone for welcoming her so warmly! (How could we resist? We’re so stoked to have you, Lisa!) Congratulations on the marketing role, we can’t wait to see what magic you make!

Specialty Coffee Industry News November

Are you missing the thrill of coffee competitions? The Specialty Coffee Association has released a new podcast, the World Coffee Championships Podcast, to tide you over until competitions can happen again. Check it out if you want to learn more about the history, evolution, and impact of coffee competitions. Listen here.

Cafe Imports has started a community building office hours event that will occur every other Friday, starting November 13th. The hosts will teach mini-classes, lead discussions, and conduct interviews. Some snippets of the MENU/plan: learning about Organic Certification, Updates from Africa with Cafe Imports’ green coffee buyer, and a Blending Basics mini-class. These are free Zoom based meetings- learn more here!

If you’ve ever wondered about what it’s like to be a Coffee Technician? The SCA is hosting live Q & A sessions - like this one All About Nitro Cold Brew Systems (pre-recorded). Check out the upcoming webinars here (all free to join!).

Like Point Break, But With More Coffee

This month we had the pleasure of getting to know a bit more about RTD Production Manager, Baker Carroll, and his super rad surf photography. Baker is a mega-talented photographer and avid surfer here in the Santa Cruz area. It was a super cool experience to learn more about what Baker does - check out the answers and some of his awesome work below!

Q: I hear you're pretty big into surfing! How and when did you get started?
A: As it is with most surfers, it was first just a love for the ocean, and that evolved into surfing. I grew up inland, so surfing wasn't an option for me. But I always loved the water. I was that kid that slept on an air mattress on the balcony on beach trips so that I could hear the waves. So, I bribed my buddy from Hawaii to teach me to shape surfboards, and we started shaping! (Looking back, my landlord was very, very kind on this. We covered that garage and house in foam haha). A few of us would roast coffee by day, then when the sun would set we'd push all that to the side and start shaping boards. It was the best. There are pros and cons to growing up near or away from the ocean, of course, but I think growing up inland instilled a deep gratitude in me for the life that I'm lucky enough to live now, with world-class waves just down the street.

Q: Did you start photography as a way to capture surfing, or was it a separate passion?
A: I got into photography in 2012 or so, simply as a way to capture moments that I wanted to remember and stories of what I see around me in the world. We only get one pass at this thing, and we aren't here for a long time, so I wanted to be able to remember the little moments that drift out of our memory over time. Once I moved here and started hanging out with shapers and great surfers, I found that handing them a photo of themselves on a wave or shaping was a greater gift to me than them - people light up receiving photos of themselves doing what they love, and that moment is so fun to me. Besides, there are so many people competing to experience a wave on a surfboard, and when you're shooting, you're completely immersed in the ocean (literally, diving under waves and loose boards) and often the only one experiencing the water that way. It's beautiful. I love that. Makes it hard to come back to land most of the time.

Q: Do you sell prints/your art anywhere online or locally? How can we support your art?
A: So kind of you to ask!! I'm just getting into that, actually. If any one is interested in a surf shoot or printing an image,I'd love to chat!

Q: If someone here at Verve is interested in photography or surfing, are you open to chatting with them about it?
A: Oh for sure!! Life is one big party wave - better together, better with friends, better when shared! I wouldn't be able to progress in photography or surfing if it weren't for so many great people helping me every day, one of my greatest joys is doing that for others. There is a "contact me" page on my website, shoot me an email to my Verve address and we can take it offline, or just chat with me at HQ one day!

Q: Where/how can we follow your work?
A: The usuals! Here is a link to my website and here is my instagram.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for anyone just starting out in either of these worlds?
A: I would offer that the best thing to do is link up with someone who can teach you and set you up for success, because that will ultimately lead to the most joy in that world. In surfing, people often skip or aren't aware of the etiquette of a lineup, and that's dangerous for everyone, and disrupts a healthy flow and respectful environment. Like the ocean, lineups must be approached with humility, patience, and respect. In photography, people can set you up with the right kit, or direct you to where the sunset views are best at that time of year, or whatever. And who knows, you may walk away with a deeper relationship with someone, and that's always a win.

Q: What about non-productively? Are you into TV? What are you binge watching right now?
A: I have been more this year! My wife, Lesly, and I are rewatching Boy Meets World right now, which has been some nice comedic relief from the heaviness of the year. I've also been very impressed with how many social issues they addressed in that show, for the 90s.

Q: Scary movies or comedies? What's your favorite?
A: COMEDIES! If I watch even a trailer for a horror film, I'm awake for days!!! Hey, I've owned that fear, and I just load up on the comedies :)

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us, Baker! We appreciate you sharing your knowledge and art with us. Verve folks, if you ever want to talk surf or photography, give Baker a shout!

Barista Hands, Freak Fingers

Every day at Verve, we are so proud and quite frankly, astounded, at the talent that we have amongst our ranks. Joan Sullivan from Mateo is one of those talents. Truly, the kind that makes you hold your breath for a minute just to take it all in. We learned a little bit more about Joan and her music and wanted to share it with everybody because, well, it’s the kind of thing that needs to be shared.

Joan is part of a local band called Freak Fingers, consisting of two baristas. They love to create with those skilled barista hands! Joan plays bass and sings, while her partner plays guitar and produces all of their tracks. Together, they song write and make music to feel out their daily experiences and life phases. Joan feels that music allows us to cope and grow, and we couldn’t agree more.

Freak Fingers’ music can be found on most platforms including but not limited to iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Pandora, etc.

Check them out anywhere you can stream music and at the below!

Instagram: @freakfingersband
Spotify to our latest album titled, “Los Feliz.

Word on The Street

You guys, the world is raving. The work that you’ve all been doing has not gone unnoticed by the community at large, and there is so much buzz about all the fantastic stuff happening at Verve, thanks to all your hard work! We wanted you to know what the fine folks around us are saying about all you do:

Explore Santa Cruz 2020: A Guide to Santa Cruz Dining This guide, which is part of Explore Santa Cruz 2020, features Verve and notes: “On the cutting edge of coffee culture—sourcing, roasting and brewing—Verve coffee houses are modern, light-filled meccas that maintain the highest standards.”

TimeOutLA The 24 best coffee shops in Los Angeles This roundup features Verve’s Roastery Del Sur as one of the best coffee shops in Los Angeles. In addition to highlighting Verve’s Farmlevel initiative, the author notes that “The all-day menu here features a flexible kind of global cuisine, not to mention a handful of truly good coffee-based mocktails exclusive to that space.”

Doing Good

We’re partnering with @SempervirensFund in hosting conservationist Obi Kauffman in a virtual-walk in the recently-burned Santa Cruz redwoods to bring awareness to our spectacular forest, and to generate action to fight climate change. Join us on Nov. 17th at 3pm PST in this virtual walk, and learn about the adaptive resilience of our ancient ecosystem. Stay on the lookout for more info, and register here.

Our retail team in LA is partnering with CORE Response, an organization providing free Covid 19 testing in conjunction with LAFD and staffed by mostly volunteers, to keep them fueled with Verve on November 12th.

In partnership with Better Booch, we're donating 10% of our sales sold on the exclusive @jeremiahkille cans from November 1-15th to the California Red Cross Wildfire Relief Fund.

Reconnecting With Our Community

Production’s own Kiki Ong 王凱霖 (she/her) is a mixed-media artist with a focus on documentary, stop motion animation, and collage. Though currently based in Santa Cruz, she grew up in Logan, UT and around the Asian Pacific. Through learning and researching Taiwanese and Cantonese culture, her work is primarily rooted in identity politics and cultural hybridity. Informed by the API diasporic experience, she is interested in uplifting BIPOC narratives, specifically in the outdoors.

During a trip to Vermont, Kiki was fortunate enough to view the work of an artist who did an exhibit called “Guided by Ghosts.” The artist’s grandmother had lived in one of Santa Cruz’s four Chinatowns. Kiki, being local, was astounded, as Santa Cruz has no booming Chinatowns to speak of today. She became very interested in learning more about these culturally rich regions and understanding the context of their history, and the ultimate impact they’ve had on modern Santa Cruz. With localism in Santa Cruz seeming to be a very prominent theme in the town, Kiki wanted to expand learning and understanding of the diverse history in Santa Cruz.

It was then that Kiki partnered with a couple of other local artists and community figured to work toward her goal of educating modern Santa Cruz about its past. She’s endeavored to bring technology and history together - by physically mapping historical Chinatowns in the area and plastering them with QR codes, Kiki has brought the past and the future together. Passersby can scan the QR codes which will automatically bring them to the website Kiki and her team are building which contains a short film about the history of Santa Cruz’s Chinatowns, historical artifacts and photographs, as well as a plethora of information. The QR codes will by physically placed in the actual Chinatown locations of years past so that modern visitors can feel physically connected to the roots of their locales.

We are so proud of Kiki and the artists she’s working with to decolonize our understanding of what our modern town means and bring us all back to the richly woven tapestry of our history through various multimedia art forms and a greater understanding and appreciation of and for this beautiful town by the sea. Thank you, Kiki! If you want to find out any additional info, you can reach the team at and visit the website at

Missed the Street Mix Vol. 1?