Barista inspired to become master coffee roaster

It doesn’t take long to realize Patrek Martin is passionate about coffee, proof is inked on his arm. An intricate arabica coffee tree tattoo is featured prominently on the 21-year-old barista’s right forearm.

"This is me branding myself and saying coffee is my life, coffee is my passion, coffee is my future," he declared.

Patrek started his coffee career in the fall of 2014 as a barista at a Starbucks® store in Georgetown, a Seattle neighborhood. Just a few months in, he was invited to attend the grand opening of the Starbucks Reserve® Roastery & Tasting Room, a mecca for all things coffee and the place where we roast Starbucks Reserve® coffees.

Patrek immediately knew he wanted to be a part of the Roastery team. He would soon discover an even greater ambition: to become one of a handful of master roasters for Starbucks, a process that takes years of dedicated training.

Before he could begin working as a barista at the Roastery, he needed to complete the Coffee Master program, an eight to 12-week coffee education course.

"[The Roastery] opened in [December 2014]. January 4th, I was certified as a coffee master. I’d been with the company for four months. That’s something that a lot of people don’t do," Patrek said.

Soon after, he started working guest shifts at the Roastery. He impressed the staff there and was made a permanent Roastery partner in March 2015.

"When I got...the opportunity to be a part of this team and this store, I can’t really even describe it, because it was that something I said I wanted to do. I said, I really want to do this, more than anything. And I did it," Patrek said.

Working alongside experienced coffee roasters, like master roaster Shawn Sidey, inspired Patrek.

"[Shawn] was the person who I watched every day doing what he loves and talking about it, and seeing that made me say, ‘Hey I want to be like that,’" Patrek said.

Patrek became fascinated with the coffee roasting process.

"When I started here at the Roastery, I had no idea [roasting] is what I wanted to do," Patrek said. "I found that, hey, I love what [the roasters] are doing and want to know more."

Last fall, he was selected to work as a green coffee loader at the Roastery. He supports the roasters in their daily tasks and makes sure they have a continuous supply of green coffee — the raw, unroasted coffee beans.

"Being back here, I get to always talk to our roasters about day-to-day operations," Patrek said. "I get to absorb all of their expertise."

That’s how he developed a relationship with Shawn.

"I had a gentleman who kind of took me under [his] wing when I was first learning," Shawn recalled. "It’s really nice to be able to take somebody like Patrek who’s so interested in it, in roasting, to be able to take him along. He can learn from all of the mistakes I’ve made and all the really good things I’ve done."

Patrek’s ultimate goal is to be a master roaster one day, just like Shawn.

"Being a master roaster to me is a symbol that you are the best at what you do. You not only are a roaster, but you’ve achieved a mastery of the process. You have the power and capability to teach people about it," Patrek said.

He recently completed special training at the Starbucks Kent Roasting Plant. Next, he’s working to become a roaster apprentice.

"I’m extremely proud of him. He’s done such an amazing job in the time he’s been here. And he has a very, very bright future. I’m just happy to see how it goes," Shawn said.

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