5 Things with Jenn Chen

Jenn Chen Mistobox

While she used to work as a barista, Jenn’s real passion in coffee is helping coffee brands reach their audience via digital marketing and social media. Aside from her professional contributions, Jenn is a passionate voice in the coffee community advocating for women and racial minorities and someone we greatly admire.

What 5 non coffee things are you into right now?

1. ​Yoga

I am for a vinyasa class once a week, though I’m thinking of doing more mini-sessions at home to relieve stress. I’ve been practicing on and off for nine years and every time I’m “on,” I remember how it really affects my life in a positive way.


2. Container gardening

When I lived in Chicago, I killed about seven plants (and kept two alive, barely). Now that I live in a more temperate climate, I think I have around 50 plants in my apartment. Which sounds like a lot, but some are tiny succulents grouped together in a planter.

3. Seeking new flavor experiences

Most recently, it’s been learning how to cook three different types of pho (I didn’t know there were different kinds!) & making dumplings by hand and experimenting with my own filling combo.


4. Photography

There’s being a photographer for work and then trying out new techniques for fun. I’ve recently tried to get into food styling, but every time I do a shoot, I feel terrible about not eating it right away. For example, how long should I spending setting up this beautiful plate of dumplings before they cool down too much?


5. Travel

This has been a constant in my life. I’ve been trying to aim for at least one domestic location and one international location a year. I do two vacations a year, in the off-season, without any digital notifications. I find traveling to be eye-opening, soothing, and an excellent way to educate yourself about the world around you.

Which of these has an impact on your daily life, and how?

Yoga and container gardening for sure. Yoga is both a physical practice for me and a meditative one (I feel like this is true for most yogis). It’s 90 minutes of only focusing on whatever pose you’re on and thinking about nothing else. My classes are on Wednesdays and after each one, I feel like I can take on the rest of the week

For container gardening, having greenery around you at home and at work has been proven to be stress relievers. I’m a very visual person and I work from home. So in my direct line of view at my desk, I need to have colorful, inspiring items. These come in the form of plants, photographs, and yes, pricer-than-normal colorful filing boxes. Even just walking around for 10 minutes and checking on my plants helps center my mind and think through tough situations.​

Do any of these 5 Things help you with personal or professional growth?

​Honestly, all of them do. ​My personal and professional life are very closely tied. When I travel, I bring my camera. When I do yoga, it helps take my mind off work (thus, helping me center on work later on). Playing with flavors educates my palate, which helps me identify flavors in coffee.


Which of your 5 Things are just totally for fun/relaxation?

​Isn’t everything kind of tied together? ​Traveling is really fun for me and so is learning new cooking techniques! Understanding how to manipulate flavors is a wonderful exercise in self-education and discovery.

How do you discover new things, interests and hobbies?

​I read a lot – books, online articles, magazines. For example, container gardening is relatively new for me. I read a few listicles on houseplants that are really difficult to kill and started with one plant. ​My collection grew from there.

And finally, since we do still love coffee, give us one coffee ‘thing’ you are into right now.

​This is going to get serious. I’m really into learning more about intersectional feminism and how our industry can do better. Why are more women not winning barista competitions? Why are there not more minorities working in the industry? Why do some baristas feel like they can’t speak up to management without fear of retribution?

Where to find Jenn: http://jennchen.com/hire-me/  / Twitter @thejennchen / Instagram @thejennchen

If you know any interesting coffee professionals/enthusiasts that would be a good fit for our 5 Things series, tweet us at @mistoboxcoffee.

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