Meet your barista: Promise Boutelle at Caffé Affogato

by

KAILEE HAONG
  • Kailee Haong

Caffé Affogato, located in the front of the quirky, open-market downtown venue called the Saranac Commons, is an Italian-style cafe, making its debut early this year. Stylistically simple and occupying a small area, the cafe serves a wide variety of beverages, including affogatos, tea and even ice creams. Eastern Washington University junior, Promise Boutelle, has lived in Spokane since she was a child, and has had an inclination toward coffee since the age of 15. You can head downtown and find Promise behind the counter, chatting with customers and making drinks.

INLANDER: How did you end up at Caffé Affogato?
BOUTELLE: We opened in February, and I think I was hired at the end of April. It’s a pretty new cafe still. So, this girl that I actually went to school with, Syd, she worked here from like the very beginning, before it was even a shop because she knew the owner. So I knew Syd, and I saw her posting on Instagram all the time of this cute little cafe and I was so jealous, so I would go in there and get coffee and I kind of just talked my way into it, basically. They happened to be needing a floater, someone who covers shifts every once in awhile, and so I did that and I got the job. I did that for a while, and then the manager at the time had to quit, and then I basically got all of his hours. It worked out pretty nicely.

Do you have any jobs aside from being a barista?
For a long time I was working the espresso stand at Eastern [Washington University], since I go to school there. I’ve worked many barista jobs, but right now this is the only job, and I only want this job because I love it so much.

Do you want to stay in Spokane after you graduate?
No. I mean, don’t get me wrong, this year I’ve actually really learned to love Spokane. I like it way more now than I liked it in high school. In high school, I hated Spokane. I don’t know, I see myself everywhere because I want to travel. I plan on moving to Denmark, I want to live in Canada, I want to live on the West Side — anywhere. That’s the only reason I say ‘no.’ But maybe later down the road.

KAILEE HAONG
  • Kailee Haong

What are your hobbies?
I love listening to music, I love going to concerts, I’m going to a concert tomorrow, actually. Purity Ring, it’s at the Knitting Factory. I like going to music festivals like Sasquatch, it’s my thing. I go every year. I love holistic medicine type of stuff; I like plants, gardening. I love like, I don’t know, I love nurturing my body. I love listening to my body, like ‘what does it need?’ or how to I heal it — oh, yoga. I love doing yoga. I’m that typical hippie girl.

Are there any current coffee trends going on right now?
Yeah, that frickin’ latte art stuff. We actually just held a competition, it’s a latte throwdown, I think it was like a week ago. Yeah, latte art is like a huge thing right now. I mean, it’s cool, but I feel like everyone tries to do the same design, and with me, I’m not that good at the free pour, but I love just making it look pretty. It doesn’t have to be that same flower thing, you know? I can do a heart, too.

What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?
Probably just building that customer-barista relationship with each other. Just really getting to know your customers as friends, or as people, because I run into them all the time because I work downtown — I almost live downtown. It’s just fun getting to know them... I get a lot of regulars, but because the cafe is in such a cool spot, people will like randomly just look into it. We get tons of those people, too.

Could you share a favorite memory?
I don’t know. I’ve had so many. I don’t know if I’ve had just one favorite moment, I’ve had a lot. Probably just like laughing about whatever. There are a lot of nice people and it’s just a good atmosphere. Not even just the people I work with, but like the people that work at Mediterrano, the bakery, the brewery guys — they’re all so fun and I feel like we’re just one giant family in there.

Are you a coffee or a tea person?
It depends on my mood, because I’m naturally super energized, so I don’t really need coffee. I mean, I drink coffee probably once, sometimes twice a week, only when I need it. I like both. It just depends.

What is your favorite drink?
I love yerba mate green tea. I love just plain soy lattes, sometimes with like honey and cinnamon. And I love drinking cold brew, only what I’ll do is I’ll steam the cold brew. It’s different than a drip coffee, it’s a lot better for you than regular coffee. I usually prefer hot drinks, so I’ll just steam it and put some honey and cinnamon in it.

If you could describe the coffee shop in one word, what would it be?
Magical.