Do Not Apply If You Have Not Been Trained By Blue Bottle, Ritual or Four Barrel

“The Summit is hiring Blue Bottle, Ritual, or Four Barrel trained Baristas ONLY,” reads this Craigslist ad, “DO NOT APPLY IF YOU HAVE NOT BEEN TRAINED BY EITHER COMPANY.”

So angry! Why exclude people AND be so mean about it?

Well, reader Meredith Scheff wanted some answers too, so she replied to the ad:

I was really excited when you opened. I love the idea and spirit behind the café and your business, I love your welcoming atmosphere, I love the aesthetics and the food. I also was excited to see your ad posted on Craigslist. I would love to work with you! I’m a long time foodie, a pretty damn good cook, and I’ve worked as a barista and view it as an art. I geek out on it, is what I’m saying. Then I read this:

[Here she quotes the line quoted above.]

WHOA there Summit. This is totally un-excellent. You mean to tell me that my love of food and coffee only counts if I have been employed by one of a few select places? I’m pretty sure I’ve run across some pretty-damn-crapy baristas at those places- and some pretty damn good ones at ‘lesser’ cafés. These places hire a handful of people at most, and that means there are plenty of us food-loving coffee-nerds that would be a great fit for you.

I look forward to hearing your reply, as this has put a terrible taste in my mouth about your business.

Blam! I was like,”Suck it, Summit! No WAY you’ll recover from THEM APPLES!!” But then their Managing Director replied with a perfectly understandable explanation of the situation:

we’re in a bind where we need to plug in baristas quickly. we prefer blue bottle trained baristas because our contract with them specifies that anyone that makes their coffee must be trained by them. the training takes 2 weeks! it shortens if you’re trained by ritual or 4 barrel.

as a side note: if we had the time, we’d open up the applicant pool to everyone. when we opened we didn’t make this same requirement. in fact none of our opening baristas were from blue bottle, ritual, etc. we looked for people exactly like you and we invested over 40hrs of coffee training with our staff.

sucks that time is not on my side this time around.

Bummer indeed! Anyway, if you, like Meredith, were put off by this ad, don’t blame the Summit. They seem well intentioned and all… Okay, here comes the punch line. Say it with me, as it is such a popular mantra lately: BLAME BLUE BOTTLE. (Just kidding, mostly.)

[Photo by Everett Bogue]

Full text of the ad after the jump, in case it expires:

Baristas for The Summit SF (mission district)

Date: 2010-11-04, 1:37AM PDT
Reply to:



The Summit is where free thinkers, craftsmen, artisans, entrepreneurs, and the public unite in a unique cafe / art bar space located in the vibrant Mission District. Located in the unique I/O Ventures incubation space, The Summit is home to 40+ telecommuters and 4 startups that are given $25,000 of seed money and mentorship from leading tech leaders. I/O Ventures is backed by the founders of seminal tech companies Myspace, Bittorrent, and others. The Summit is their public living room. 

The Summit is hiring Blue Bottle, Ritual, or Four Barrel trained Baristas ONLY. DO NOT APPLY IF YOU HAVE NOT BEEN TRAINED BY EITHER COMPANY:

The Summit is looking for an experienced barista coffee/tea “nerd” for a new art bar/ café serving Blue Bottle coffee and Red Blossom tea. We will provide Blue Bottle and Red Blossom training. Punctuality, personality and the ability to be professional in a fun, casual atmosphere is required. You must demonstrate a love of coffee and the ability to craft them with care and a sense of urgency. We are looking for people who are interested in food/wine/hospitality/art to join our family the ability to talk tech is a plus. Prior Blue Bottle training will get you to the top of the list.

  • Compensation: $12 an hour
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
  • Please, no phone calls about this job!
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

PostingID: 2041505697

45 Responses to “Do Not Apply If You Have Not Been Trained By Blue Bottle, Ritual or Four Barrel”

  1. Erik says:

    I wouldn’t want to work at a place that couldn’t afford to give their managing director a computer with a working shift key.

  2. jane says:

    this is kind of beside the point, but i still don’t get why people like blue bottle in the first place. it’s mediocre over-roasted coffee and people are just paying $3 or $4 for the privilege of drinking mediocre over-roasted coffee in a somewhat charming atmosphere. that said, i do like the summit. those deep couches are awesome for curling up with a book on a cold day and the spot is prime for scoping out hot yuppie dads. chai + couch + DILFs = happy jane.

    • Ferocious Foot Odor says:

      Right on. The cult of the bean was sweet when it started, but now its all about snobby attitude and an inch of mud at the bottom. Disgusting. There are still great small coffee places, just not those brands.

    • MrEricSir says:

      Over-roasted? You obviously don’t know anything about coffee.

      “Over-roasted” is what’s called “burnt” and it’s what you find at Starbucks if you buy their darker roasts. I’ve yet to see a burnt bean at Blue Bottle.

  3. James O'Boston says:

    I’m also citing the ad writer for improper use of the word “either” to refer to any of three possible antecedents… e-ltteracy is no excuse for rudeness.

  4. lz says:

    Well, I liked the Summit the first time I went. I’d rather give my business to someone less full of themselves.

  5. Gilberto says:

    Let’s see if time is on their side when they can’t find anyone with that specific experience and the role stays open for three weeks. Faster to hire someone with basic Barista experience and let them get up to speed on the job, if you’re that desperate.

    • Erik says:

      More likely they will give it a week or something to flush out anyone who might already be trained before having to open it up to people who require training.

  6. Ferocious Foot Odor says:

    Does this remind anyone of the help wanted ads from all the already-vain (and likely doomed) SOMA tech start ups of late?

    The wordsmith-ing is just obnoxious. It boggles the mind that someone thinks this way.

    If I ever met one of these people in person, I think I would just spontaneously slap them in the face. Or at least pour a cup of hot coffee over their heads.

    • MrEricSir says:


      A lot of companies just don’t like to train their employees.

      It’s exactly like the SOMA “web 2.0 social network mashup companies” that require you to have 5 years of Ruby on Rails experience with memory caching and know how to use at least one nosql software package.

  7. Andy says:

    I just bought a Volvo station wagon from Meredith! Thanks dude! Take care!

    • Meredith says:

      Talk about random happenstance.
      Enjoy her (the car, i mean). If only I had gotten that job, maybe I would have kept her…[tiny violin]

  8. Tsar Khastiq II says:

    Agua de culo.
    Water is coffee in América.

  9. James O'Boston says:

    what is all this fuss about coffee, anyway?

  10. Ferocious Foot Odor says:

    Well not to get all intellectual, but I would say this: the great fortunes in America are made by selling the lowly to the low.

    We all need coffee and underwear.

    I.E. Calvin Klein coffee must be only days away…

  11. no.thanks. says:

    psssst. Rogers Coffee is really where its at.

  12. El Jeffe says:

    Blue Bottle coffe is pretty decent, but it definitely aint all that.

    Ritual and Four Barrel are both the same: better than most other coffee in SF, but not over the top amazing (nor consistent). I really don’t know why these places think they’re the best shit in the world.

    I guess what I’m saying is, when is Stumptown going to come down here and open up shop?

    • 22nd Street says:

      I concur about Stumptown. I was sad when Dynamo stopped carrying it.

      El Jeffe, this is the second Portland reference you’ve made (that I’ve caught at least). I think I went to college with you.

  13. alyssa says:

    I work at Peets, and i’ve been sitting here trying to think of something clever to say…but I got nada..except..great post.. seriously..

  14. Bob Dole says:

    With that much square footage in that location, they’ve gotta be a front for something else besides selling coffee.

  15. thesummitsf says:

    We didn’t mean to come off as elitist, but here’s the truth behind the posting… Our business has become extremely popular and our contract with Blue Bottle states that all baristas that touch their beans must be trained by them for quality control. Blue Bottle for training The Summit takes about 2 weeks of intensive hands-on learning–mostly at their facility.

    Unfortunately I’m in a situation where I can’t wait 2 weeks. I need baristas now to plug in scheduling holes. My management staff and I work 7 days a week / 12-14hrs a day to keep-up (which might explain my bad grammar). Baristas trained by other 3rd wave roasters will help cut down the training time.

    As a side note, NONE of my opening staff were previously trained by Blue Bottle, Ritual, 4 Barrel, etc because I had time on my side. My only requirement was to have a passion for learning, a love of food, and a genuine sense of hospitality. I even hired a few people from Starbucks looking to escape the drone of corporate coffee.

    Hopefully this clears the air.

    Anybody that wants to have a constructive talk with me, I invite them to have coffee on me and I’ll show you the space and introduce you to the people that have put their hearts and souls into this project. We’re not the evil corporate devils that some make us out to be. I’m just a regular guy, trying to make the American dream happen.


  16. yuppiecafeworld says:

    i think it’s laughable that there’s a discussion about the merits of a yuppiefied overpriced cafe having a limited pool of applicants to filter through. really? this blog is through and through the whitest most liberal cesspool of a convention of people it might as well as be about Seattle or Portland

  17. s says:

    Someone needs to let any and all of those baristas know that it’s not ok to take for-fucking-ever to make a god damn macchiato. Especially when there are four people behind the counter, and only a few more customers than that. It’s not time to chitchat, assholes. It’s time to make fucking coffee and “handcraft” some chai without excuses or apologies. Blue Bottle training or not, make it fucking happen already.

  18. Sweet T says:

    “The Summit is where free thinkers, craftsmen, artisans, entrepreneurs, and the public unite in a unique cafe / art bar space located in the vibrant Mission District.”

    Yeah right. This place is for chubby dorks.

  19. Guillermo says:

    Do you idiots realize your arguing over a cup of fucking coffee? Fuck off and let the dude run his shop, if it fails, it fails. If it’s successful and lasts a few years you can avoid it as there’s LOTS OF OTHER OPTIONS OUT THERE. Get over it, you’re acting like a bunch of spoiled brats. Better yet, open your own damn shop.

  20. C. says:

    Gee, Desi’s replies to Meredith and to this comment thread seem quite reasonable and fair. There is a further supporting point that, without a credential (such as training by BB, RR or 4B), it really can take more time and energy to determine whether a person is trained and what further training they may need. This time and energy is what Desi and his crew don’t have right now. So not a bad – or an unfair – strategy, I don’t believe…
    The only remaining issue is what James O’Boston so clearly points out: use of a disjunctive with three antecedent elements.
    But – the space feels weird and unsettled to me. I don’t want to drink my coffee in a startup office! You?

  21. Dunkin Donuts says:

    Don’t you people get tired of these pretentious coffee roasters? It impresses me that for many their competitive edge is to offer the customer fewer options, such as only offering their drinks in a 12oz cup. Sure it’s good tasting coffee, but enough of this nonsense – let’s move on.

  22. melissa says:

    I don’t understand what about Blue Barrel coffee is so different than other coffee that it requires special training. Anybody know?

  23. Dubliner says:

    They should have set up shop on Sand Hill road. They’d fit in perfectly there.

  24. Ryan says:

    Nice space. Unfortunately they’re trying way too hard.

  25. Erik says:

    Unemployed people sure do get cranky when they find out that they aren’t qualified to make coffee any more.

  26. Eyad says:

    Looks like I won’t be going there, but that wasn’t even an issue anyways.

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