Hospitality in a specialty cafe requires the baristas to be on their top game - attentive, well-paced, ready to be thrown a wrench every now and then. At home, baristas are people (surprise!), people who have their own coffee habits outside of a coffee shop environment. In this series, Methodical baristas take off the aprons, open the doors to their personal space, and show us how they do coffee off the clock.
The first thing I see when the door opens at Andrew Suttons house is a flurry of cream and grey fluff bounding joyfully toward me. It’s Fig, Andrew’s 1.5 year old husky mix. Fig greets me generously as Andrew bends in an effort to quell the giant pup’s jumpiness, distracting him with a game of fetch. Andrew’s home is bright, quiet, camellia bushes and fir trees bowing toward the bare windows. Cookbooks, vintage posters and flags, and a mid-century mix of furniture tell a story of the two dudes that share this house in the Southside of Greenville - a conscientious, laid back pair of twenty-somethings with a lot in common but one thing in particular. They both work at Methodical.
Andrew Sutton is currently Methodical's Head Barista, and he’s been in the specialty coffee game for 5 years. Andrew has had the same copper Hario kettle in his personal possession for 2 of those years, and it’s made countless pour overs. It’s about to make one more. There’s a small wooden cart situated in front of an out-of-use ironing board cabinet in the kitchen. The cart serves as a coffee bar, with Andrews Virtuoso grinder, a digital scale, and brewing gear at the ready. There’s a bag of Methodicals Burundi Mikuba already open. Andrew measures out 46 grams of the coffee and dumps it into the grinder, using a medium-ish grind (a ‘22’ on his Virtuoso). While he pre-rinses a filter in his copper Kalita Wave brewer, we talk about pets and house projects.
I’m here to observe Andrew, to learn about his home habits, but I (embarrassingly) find that I’m talking about myself. Even off bar, Andrew is a consummate barista, seamlessly preparing a drink while directing questions at me, his guest, making me feel at home in a place I’ve never been before. He brews the Mikuba with 700 g of water, sympathizing as I share my dog-parent woes while he slowly pours. After finishing the brew at ~4 minutes, he opens a white, wooden cabinet and invites me to choose a cup from the smattering of diner mugs branded with coffee shop logos, vintage one-offs, and quirky handmade vessels. I pick an off-white squat mug with snowy mountain imagery on it, reading “ALASKA” in sky blue; he goes with a simple, white, footed cup. It feels good to have kitchen privileges here already - it’s an act of trust on Andrew’s part, his way of welcoming me into his home and making me a participant in his process.
Andrew takes both cups and the Hario server to his light-washed dining room, filling each mug as I unwrap the sausage biscuits I got us from Tommy’s Ham House. We sit, free for once of the fast pace of a coffee bar or the obligations therein. Andrew excels in that world and in this one, where his uncomplicated knack for hospitality and tendency to riff aimlessly on whatever subject flies by make for an hour well spent - drinking coffee and shooting the breeze.