Guys, it’s happened. Mattel has released a barista ken doll. And we’re Thrilled with a capital T.
The first reason is because the official title of the doll is “Careers Ken Barista.” Notice it says “Careers.” That means Mattel (aka society) now sees barista-hood as a proper career!
No more jabs about baristas being aimless millennials. No more eye-rolling when we brag on our latté art. No more assumptions that we sleep on mattresses behind the coffee bar.
(Although, if that’s a possibility, please let me know.)
It is the end of an anti-barista era. Because now, we can hold up our CAREERS Ken Barista doll as proof that we baristas are at the peak of maturity.
The second reason is because barista Ken kind of, sort of, looks like…cough, cough…our coffee shop manager Alejandro. Consider the top-knot and confident posture.
So we asked the dead ringer himself on his thoughts about this Mattel movement:
Me: How did you feel when you saw the barista Ken doll?
Alejandro: Baristas can be appreciated as individuals or specialists. To quote my friend Daniel Bhowanidin, “It be like that.” I definitely bought the doll the same day our coffeeshop regular Officer Hernandez shared a post of it on Facebook because imitation is the best form of flattery.
To be honest, I find it somewhat interesting that Barbie is making a career doll of baristas and maybe the intention is reaching a consumer base that fantasizes of the attractive and/or friendly barista at the nearby coffee shop.
M: What are your thoughts on society's treatment of baristas?
A: Let the Barista help you make your order. I certainly struggle with communicating with customers and a lot of it isn’t the customers’ ignorance. It’s that American coffee terminology just sucks! Big chains like Starbucks and Dunkin’ have confused consumers into expecting Italian-sounding, giant froo froo drinks and whipped cream as the norm within the coffee industry.
I can understand that this is not a big issue to an outsider, but I challenge you to tell me the difference between a latté and a macchiato. (It’s not an upside-down latté.)
M: Do you think there is such a thing as a “career barista”?
A: If we consider Barista as an umbrella category then, yes, for sure! I have seen many baristas be involved in the supply chain industry, or become coffee shop owners or specialists who assist in teaching. As long as the career isn’t just making coffee behind a bar in a Groundhog Day environment.
I do know that the industry is huge but it lacks in communication from farm-to-cup suppliers involved in bringing coffee beans across the world to your cup.
M: What are your hopes for Career Ken now that his barista endeavors are in the public eye?
A: Haha! My hope is in finding new ways to reach our communities through grace and commitment, so if Ken can inhabit those feelings of mine, then that’s my hope for Ken.