The Hero Next Door: Barista

Photo: Jose Romero


Name: Elyse Schwartz

Age: 23

HEROcation: Caffeine

Elyse has worked at Ciao Coffee in Sherman Oaks as a barista for the past four years. A full-time student juggling 14 units between three different schools within the Los Angeles Community College District, Elyse gets to work every morning before most of us have even gotten out of bed. She knows about 80 percent of her regulars by name or drink.

– K. Mabry

“I think that other people’s lives are fascinating and I like listening. It’s such a good feeling to get to see a lot of people that I genuinely like on an almost daily basis. It’s a super good way to start the day. Sometimes you kind of feel like a bartender. Some customers come in and right away you can tell something’s bugging them. I always like to ask if they need to talk. A regular came in once and I asked if she wanted a hug, and she politely declined—you get sweaty pulling shots and running back and forth behind the [espresso] bar.”

– Elyse Schwartz



Photo: Jose Romero