Coffee is a sensory experience. From the dark, caramelly color, to the roasty aroma and rich flavor.
Starbucks store manager Natalie Williams invites partners (employees) and customers to learn more about coffee through her hand-drawn illustrations. Her pieces depict the journey of coffee from a young plant to a carefully crafted beverage. She uses pen and ink, and sometimes even brewed Starbucks coffee to create her art.
“Rather than completely finishing my art, I just leave them as line drawings to share,” Williams said. “It’s a way to combine my passion for coffee and art while helping others become passionate too.”
Williams started sketching as a child, drawing side-by-side with her mother.
“My mom was a painter and an artist,” she said. “We would just sit and draw as I was growing up. I think it was inevitable that my love of art and coffee would combine.”
Williams, who manages a Starbucks store in Shoreline, Washington, first joined Starbucks more than a dozen years ago after feeling a connection to coffee and how it brings people together. Last year she traveled to Costa Rica as part of Starbucks Origin Experience, which takes partners from behind the counters of stores, corporate offices and roasting plants and brings them to work alongside farmers in coffee-growing regions. Since then, she has drawn pictures from photos of coffee and shared them with other partners and customers online.
“Costa Rica ignited that fire more than ever,” she said. “I want to learn all I can about coffee, and I want everyone around me to be excited and learn also.”