‘5 Things’ with Chris Baca


Coffee people are awesome, coffee people are the best! But what is it that makes them tick, besides coffee? Our Blog Series ‘5 Things’ asks just that. We interview folks who absolutely love coffee and have done some really cool stuff in the industry and ask them what their favorite 5 things are RIGHT NOW. The twist? None of them have to do with coffee.

This week we interview Chris Baca “aka The Real Chris Baca” of Cat & Cloud Coffee Roasters. His list of coffee creds are long and impressive but what makes him a real star is the way he approaches the coffee industry; with fun, skill and a lot of California style.

Here we go: What 5 (non coffee) Things are you into right now?

Holy smokes 5 things that I’m way into right now?!

1. Skateboarding for sure. Always skateboarding.

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2. I love cars- particularly European or Japanese builds from the 80’s to late 90’s that are compact, two door, and rear-wheel-drive. I’ve taken to attending our local chapter of Cars & Coffee; it’s an awesome casual early morning meet up of car lovers rappin’ about cars and drinking coffee…basically a dream come true.

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3. I’m loving YouTube right now! Both as a viewer and a content creator. I’m super into vlog type channels and digging into people’s day to day lives. I used to watch more artsy/film type videos with tons of effort put into production, but recently I’m favoring more raw and gritty stuff. I love seeing what people are doing when they’re not necessarily in their element. For a long time my videos were mostly tutorial based but I’m about to go off the rails, switch the game up, and just film life ya know?!

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4. I’m way into eating as much real food as I can. Steering away from processed grab-and-go food makes me feel like a champ. I’ll for sure grab the odd treat here and there, but really try to make that the exception and not the rule. Everyone always clowns me for carrying around my bag of chicken or Tupperware full of brussel sprouts but haters beware: that stuff is here to stay!

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5. Lastly, I’d say journaling and planning. There are so many potential distractions to navigate throughout the day. Knowing what my goals are and having a plan helps me focus on the things that are the most important, so when the end of the day comes I feel good about what I accomplished. Things come up on the fly sometimes, but I honestly think most things that are urgent or require immediate attention are just the result of poor planning.

Which of these impact your daily life?

I think all of these work together as a system, but I’d say skateboarding for sure has the biggest impact on my daily life. Skateboarding is my first love and always brings me back to my center point. You probably don’t want to hang out with me if I haven’t skated in a few days. The busier I get, and the more impacted my schedule is – the more important it is for me to set aside time to go skate. Just getting in a solid two hour session makes a night and day difference in my mood, attitude, and energy levels.

Are any of your 5 Things making you better at being you? Or at your job?

Making and editing videos has made me so much better at the educational aspects of my career. My strongest attribute as a coffee educator is being able to take complex ideas and explain them in a simple and concise manner. Editing video and constantly listening to myself talk with a critical ear while trimming the unnecessary fat makes it easier for me put together solid and easy to follow training protocols. Editing video has definitely made me a better communicator when I need to be. If you see me on the weekend though it’s all foul language and slang so fair warning!

Any of your 5 Things just totally for fun/relaxation?

My car for sure for both fun and relaxation. While the idea of driving for a commute sounds horrible, I love to jump into my whip on the weekends and just cut loose. Whether it’s carving around a mountain road or doing donuts in an abandoned parking lot, I’m all about the freedom and fun that cars provide. On the relaxation tip, I use the time I spend cleaning my car as kind of a meditation and unplugging time. I go full on zen with the detailing and set aside a few hours to just think while I clean. I feel super mellow and chill when I’m done. It’s a rare feeling to not be in a hurry and I think that’s why I enjoy the process so much.

How do you discover new things?

I love discovering things in person through the people I run into every day. Of course you can tap on your explore page on instagram or scroll through Facebook till the world ends but one of the most fun thing about being a barista is taking that causal “How’s your morning going?” conversation to the next level. Everyones got an undercover story, struggle, or passion. Really getting to know people and getting to experience some of these things first hand is my favorite method of discovery.

And finally, since it only seems fair, give us one coffee thing you are into right now.

Since we’ve been doing the buildout for Cat & Cloud I’ve been spending a lot of time revamping all of my barista training and educational material. It’s been an awesome brain exercise to step back and take a fresh look at the entire training process. A lot of the my old trainings even from just a couple years ago, while good for their time – are definitely antiquated in the context of the level of speed, quality, and overall experience we want to provide. I’m feelin’ it for sure, and can’t wait to implement all of these crazy ideas and training techniques!

Want more of the Real Chris Baca? Check out his YouTube Channel where he talks an awesome coffee game! Plenty of pro tips, barista know-how and a really sick hat collection. And be sure to stay tuned for all the great things Cat & Cloud has in the works.

**Check out our awesome coffee cocktail article and the perfect cold brew cup!