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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Hey, Barista: Alex Potter from Sparkroot shares her favorite (and weirdest) barista moments

    Darien Bakas
    Three Sparkroot baristas enjoy a laugh behind the coffee bar on Thursday, Jan. 28. Sparkroot’s baristas pride themselves on top-notch latte art.

    Soft lighting, semi-loud indie music, a decked out vegetarian menu, iced mochas served in mason jars and a 10-foot cactus popping out of a table — that’s Sparkroot for you. 

    Located on the heart of Congress Street, Sparkroot has been a Tucson hipster favorite since 2011. 

    Sparkroot’s Alex Potter encapsulates the ideal barista with her haircut, cool clothes and rad tattoos.

    Daily Wildcat: How long have you been working at Sparkroot?

    Alex Potter: I’ve been working here for three years.

    What is your favorite drink to make?

    Cappuccinos are my favorite. They’re classic and well-balanced drinks that are great for messing around with latte art. Generally people who order them have standards of how they’re made and I always like trying to meet or exceed them.

    What do you enjoy about working here? 

    Probably my coworkers, but also being so close to everything that is going on downtown. [The Rialto Theatre and Hotel Congress] give us free tickets a lot of the time or they’ll like let us in if it’s, like, the end of the show, they’ll let us in to see the last little bit and not pay, obviously. So yeah, that’s really nice.

    Do you have a favorite customer?

    I think it changes, you know? I mean, I have a lot of favorite customers, I don’t think I could pick one, but I’ve made a lot of friends through working here and obviously those people end up being more of my favorites. I like almost all of our customers.

    Do you have any memorable customers? 

    Yeah, there’s this one guy, Dave, that has been coming here since I first started working and he teaches at the [UA], and he’s just a really nice guy. He’s just a genuinely good person who has been there for all of us as a customer and friend. We love Dave.

    What’s the weirdest thing you have experienced here?

    One time when I was working, we get a lot of homeless people come in, and this one guy came in and he sat down … And then he leaves and puts down what was in his hands when he left. I was looking at it and I was busy so I was just looking at it, like, ‘what is that?’, and I kind of figured out what it was in my head and at that moment he came back in and picked it up. It was raw steak. He started eating it, and he is just eating raw steak and there’s … blood dripping all over the place. It was disgusting. Customers saw and we called security and so he left, but then he ended up coming back and he hit one of my coworkers. … He was very intoxicated and old. But that was probably one of the craziest things that has happened.

    With odds and ends as decorations and tiny metal and wood tables just big enough to fit your mason jar and MacBook, lights so dim and an ambiance so hip, Sparkroot is the perfect place to write that five-page essay and have a chai latte with your cool friends. After a recent switch of coffee companies, this corner coffee shop is serving nothing but rich, flavorful organic coffee from Ritual Coffee Roasters.

    However, with a recent buyout from University Boulevard favorite Caffe Luce, Sparkroot will be dimming its lights and becoming Caffe Luce by the end of this year. Bring your friends for an evening filled with warm and iced drinks and a number two from the hip menu.

    Follow Mariel Bustamante on Twitter

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