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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Hey, Barista!: Clinton Baker from Caffé Lucé reveals his worst nightmare

    Darien Bakas
    Caffe Luce manager, Clinton Baker, standing behind the counter to take coffee orders from customers on Wednesday, March 30. The coffee shop is located just north of University Boulevard on Park Avenue.

    Coffee often seems limited at the UA with only CC’s Coffee House and Starbucks. But if you take the walk down to University Boulevard, you will come across the unique little coffee shop Caffé Lucé. The Daily Wildcat sat down with its manager, Clinton Baker to talk about this student favorite.

    Daily Wildcat: How long have you been working at Caffé Lucé?

    Clinton Baker: I’ve been here [for] I think six years or so.

    What’s your favorite part about working here?

    Well, free coffee is a big up. You get to see so many people, like regulars, you see them everyday. We also have a lot of flexibility too, so we get to say what we want to say and do what we want to do to some extent, so that’s nice to have the flexibility.

    What’s your least favorite part?

    Blended drinks. Frappuccinos. I hate making those damn frappuccinos. They’re the worst. It’s my worst nightmare.

    So you mentioned regulars, do you have a lot of regulars?

    Yeah we have a lot of regulars, I’d say probably 70 percent of our customers are regulars and you see them pretty much daily.

    Have you made friends with your regulars?

    Yeah. I have a whole group of friends that I go camping with all of the time and I met them all through the coffee shop.

    What’s your favorite drink to make?

    Honestly it’s a medium latte in a for-here cup because they’re big wide cups and you can pour really nice latte art in them and its my favorite drink to make. So every time someone orders that, I’m happy.

    Have you found yourself drinking more or less coffee since you began working here?

    More coffee definitely, but I kind of fluctuate. At one point I was drinking a ton of coffee and then I realized it was kind of ridiculous, so I scaled back. I still drink a lot of coffee, but not as much as I used to.

    Have you had any weird experiences while working here?

    We’ve had people try to come in and steal our tip jars. This one sketchy guy came in and tried to steal the tip jar and me and the other barista Kyle were here and he tried to fight us and tried to come behind the bar because we wouldn’t let him steal the tip jar. So just a bunch of Tucson crazies that come in every now and then.

    Do you get to control the music here?

    Yeah that’s one of the perks of working here. We get to play whatever we want. It also depends what we play. We go from like country to hip-hop to summer hits of the ’90s. So it’s really whoever gets to the radio first gets to pick.

    Last year, Caffé Lucé bought local downtown favorite Sparkroot, but it seems that everything will remain as is at Lucé.

    “It doesn’t really change my life that much,” Baker said. “My boss is really stressed out, but it doesn’t change our job here [University location] that much. But we can go in there [Sparkroot] and get the hookup now so that’s good.”

    If you’re ever looking for a new coffee spot that doesn’t scream capitalism, take a walk down University Boulevard to Caffé Lucé and treat yourself to a latte.

    Follow Mariel Bustamante on Twitter.

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