The first time I saw Jordan’s Instagram account I knew I wanted to interview him. As a coffee enthusiast (duh) and occasional poet myself, it was fun to see someone combine the two in creative ways. Jordan is a manager at Glen Edith Coffee in Rochester, NY
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Do you think of yourself as a barista or poet? Or something else entirely?
“I’m humbled whenever anyone considers me either. Writing is just something I do to pour (no pun intended) out everyday experiences, and it means the world when someone says they connect to or appreciate the work I’ve done.
“As a barista, I’m new and still rather wet behind the ears. But the same things apply: the art, the connections made, are all secondary to just pouring (pun intended) my everyday experiences into something someone can enjoy. So at the end, “barista” and “writer” are the same but different outlets for me.”
Is there a connection between coffee and writing for you?
“In all honesty, the connection between coffee and writing is a long-standing marriage made by the good gods of caffeine and ink. Like many before me, after long nights of staring blankly at an even blanker white page, coffee is essential to cure the hangover of an unproductive night.”
What inspires you?
“Everything inspires me. Anything can spark a line or phrase or dream that leads to a poem or novel or book or me ensuring we (Glen Edith) have the best tasting waffles.”
Who inspires you?
“Some of my main inspiration comes from Bukowski. His ‘no fucks given’ attitude opened up my eyes to how I can do anything I want with writing and taught me to tap into human wants and emotions and needs in an unflinching way.
“Isn’t that what you want from your reading? From the food you eat? From the coffee you drink? Unyielding (maybe not with coffee. You want a good yield with coffee) authenticity?”
What’s something about you that people should understand?
“I think people may misconstrue my writing self with the stupid, goofy, weird person I am. I have a sneaky suspicion people get the idea that I’m a womanizing man whore who sucks down every bottle he can (when not at work) but nothing could be further from the truth. My writing handle, my writing name “J.R. Taylor” is only a character, a figment of what I imagined my life would be or will become.”
What’s your opinion of today’s “specialty” coffee culture?
“I think we’re in a continuing evolution of the same caffeine addiction we’ve had since humans became aware of the coffee bean. But it is rewarding to see the community that’s been built around it and how its seemed (in my almost year of experience) that everyone is accepting and enthusiastic about the coffee more than the coffee shop.
“Yeah, there are cool shops and designs but deep in those shops, especially here in Rochester, that vibe is just an extension of how we brew, roast and source coffee. Everyone is willing and eager to show you and tell you about coffee, which, in a time of clear division, is refreshing.”
If you had the power to change one thing about the world, what would it be and why?
“If I had the ability to change anything about the world it would be acceptance. We’re individuals in an increasingly small world, and the old ideals of “something is wrong with someone and that makes me better” is so antiquated and tribal we need to relearn what it is to be diverse and loving. Our race depends on it. Our future generations are depending on it.”
Where would you like to be in five years?
“In five years I expect I’ll be just beginning a prolonged vacation on an Australian beach, drinking (maybe) coffee (maybe) alcohol (maybe both?) and thinking of nothing in particular.”