Byron Gomez was the champion of New Orleans’ second Thursday Night Throwdown, held February 19, 2015. You can find Byron working at Spitfire Coffee in the French Quarter.
Where are you from?
Baton Rouge, LA. Born and raised.
How did you get into coffee?
It’s a funny story actually. I didn’t even drink coffee until I got my first coffee job. In desperation to find a job, just after moving to Nashville, I took a one night a week gig until something else popped up. Within that first week, I was offered a full-time position and would shortly begin training to be a barista. Part of that training was learning about sourcing sustainable coffees. I’d have to credit that element of social justice as to being what originally drew me into the world of coffee; I had no idea that it would take me on such an exciting culinary adventure and teach me so much about myself. Thanks Bongo Java.
What do you love about coffee in Nola?
The opportunity. Not only for success, but for the opportunities of community and friendships. New Orleans has always been a “coffee city,” but we are blessed with a unique perspective as the times change right in front of our eyes. Being that our city is relatively new to “third wave” coffee, it is outstanding that our community has produced very little drama and has remained a closely knit community. These things are what I find to be essential to maintaining a foundation to build upon.
Your wife, Christina, is a constant presence at our events. Talk to us about how she’s supported your journey as a barista.
Christina is the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. She has supported me from day one. She is my rock. She keeps me level headed and always offers fresh perspective. She’s willing to counsel me through the frustrations of this profession; she’s willing to celebrate with me through the triumphs of this profession. She’s supportive of my hopes for the future and encouraging when success does not come quick enough. Without Christina, there is no me.