Life

Kitchen window: Greyhound barista thrives on helping others

Mitchell Grauberger, a barista at Greyhound Deli, hands a cup of hot chocolate to a customer at the cafe in the Cedar Rapids Public Library on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. Grauberger says he loves being able to do things for people, so serving them in the food business is a good starting place. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Mitchell Grauberger, a barista at Greyhound Deli, hands a cup of hot chocolate to a customer at the cafe in the Cedar Rapids Public Library on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. Grauberger says he loves being able to do things for people, so serving them in the food business is a good starting place. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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Who: Barista Mitchell Grauberger, 21, of Cedar Rapids

Where: Greyhound Deli, Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 Fifth Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids

Q: What do you do?

A: I mostly do front of house coffee. I’m learning the back of house things, making sandwiches and all that. But my favorite thing is definitely making coffee.

Q: What’s your background? How did you end up working here?

A: I really love the small business aspect of it. I was eating here all the time, and I asked them what their hiring process was ... I’ve worked here since mid-August. Previously I worked at a sports bar in Marshalltown and a bunch of other places. I worked at a church camp, Wesley Woods in Indianola, and I dealt cards at the Meskwaki Casino.

Q: What do you like about the food service industry?

A: I really like feeling like I’m doing something for someone else and feeling like I’m helping others. So many people come in here and are like, “I need caffeine!” and I can do that for them.

Q: Where else can we find you when you’re not here?

A: I volunteer at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, at the front desk. I absolutely love it, the whole environment of being in an artistic setting ... when people come in, I get to help them and answer questions. I’m also trying to get involved with Theatre Cedar Rapids, with their tech stuff.

Q: What have you learned about coffee while working here?

A: We make all our own syrups. I really like knowing all the different drinks. My favorite is the lavender vanilla latte. I’ve also been loving the 5 spice latte lately.

Q: Are there any challenges with the job?

A: When I first started learning, it was a little overwhelming. There’s a lot to know. Some things you have to learn for yourself. For example, I still can’t do latte art. It’s really challenging to get the pour speed right.

Q: Anything else you would want people to know about you?

A: LGBT activism is really a huge passion of mine, and mental health activism. I attend PFLAG and Transformations. (PFLAG is a support group for individuals, families, friends and allies of gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, transgender and questioning people. Transformations is a PFLAG-affiliated support group geared toward individuals, families, friends and allies of transgender individuals.) I’m a trans man; my pronouns are he and him. PFLAG helps organize PrideFest and LGBT Day at the capitol. There’s a lot I want to do eventually. I want to be a foster parent some day. There’s a need for more LGBT foster parents.

l Comments: (319) 398-8339; alison.gowans@thegazette.com

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When Grauberger isn’t making coffee at Greyhound Deli, he might be making his signature dish at home, Coca-Cola pork roast.

“It’s simple. Just a pork roast, one packet of onion soup mix and a can of Coke,” he said. The acid in the Coke helps break down and tenderize the meat. “I put cook it in the crock pot on low for about eight hours, and serve it with homemade mashed potatoes. It’s my favorite recipe to do at home.”

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