We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexis Bolter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alexis, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
For me, success is truly about having a workforce that feels supported and happy to be at their job. This has been unusually hard during the pandemic but it quickly brought into focus the importance of concentrating on the safety and well being of the team. I was attracted to the coffee industry because of the creative people who find their way into the space whether it’s as a customer or as a barista. When you think of a customer facing business like hospitality and food service, a happy and fulfilled crew of baristas will pass that on to their customers. It is my job to make sure my staff is protected and equipped to handle the environment they face everyday. If they’re excited for their work journey then the people who come through the door will feel that energy and they’ll return.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When I take a moment to reflect on where I am in life I’m still surprised to see how far I’ve come. This wasn’t a path I was seeking but once I got my feet wet in specialty coffee it took over my life. I began as a barista back in 2007 when specialty coffee was new to Los Angeles. I’ve worked every role in a cafe, from dishwasher, to manager, to barback, to barista. I think this exposure has made me successful as I moved into larger roles. I still see everything from the perspective of someone in the cafe. As I work on new product launches, or as we change our service model due to COVID, I’m always thinking back to my time on the floor and how I would have wanted to be informed. There is a flow and dynamic to coffee culture and it is a dominant factor in my decision making process.
I’ve worked for a few coffee companies and I’ve had exposure to many different roasters but Verve consistently stands out for their dedication to Farmlevel. The relationship Verve has built with coffee farmers is truly inspiring. When I began at Verve in 2019, they hosted their very first Farmlevel Summit at our new roastery and headquarter in the Arts District. It was the first time I had ever met a coffee farmer and I had been in the industry for 12 years. Part of the Summit involved a closed door meeting so that the coffee farmers from all different parts of the world could discuss their challenges with each other and collaborate. This event left a huge impact on me and my dedication to these amazing individuals at Farmlevel. It is my passion for coffee and the incredible people behind each perfectly brewed cup that keeps me motivated and inspired.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When folks visit I’m always giving lists of coffee shops for every neighborhood so here is a list of my favorite spots: Santa Monica – Caffe Luxxe on Montana Ave. Venice – Menotti’s on Windward Ave. Inglewood – Hilltop Coffee on La Brea Mid-City – Paper or Plastik on Pico Blvd. Silverlake – Dinosaur Coffee on Sunset Blvd. Echo Park – Bloom & Plume on Temple St. Los Feliz – Maru on Hillhurst Ave. Virgil Village – Cafecito Organico on Hoover St. and of course! West Hollywood – Verve on Melrose Ave. Fairfax – Verve on 3rd St. Downtown – Verve on Spring St. Art District – Verve on Mateo St.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have to give a shoutout to the amazing women leaders I have worked with over the years. The struggle to be a woman in leadership is very real but I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by women like Amanda Kelps and Pamela Fryman who showed me how to lead with strength, confidence, and intelligence. I’m forever grateful to them. Additionally, I wouldn’t be where I am without Mark and Gary at Caffe Luxxe. They saw my potential as a barista and gave me responsibility that paved the way for my coffee career. And, as cheesy as it sounds, I have to thank my mom, Patricia Bolter. My mom is an incredible role model. She fought her way through a male dominated industry and I admire her determination and strength. I turn to her on my best days and my worst days and she is always there to support me. I’m incredibly lucky to be her daughter.
Instagram: @alexisbolter. @vervecoffee