Meet Terry Mitchell, Thistle Stop Café’s head Barista, trafficking and addiction survivor, Magdalene graduate and award-winning dreamer. Celebrating 10 years clean from drugs, Terry is an inspiration. In her words, “I grew up in a family of addiction. My mother is an addict. My father is an addict. I lost three of my uncles and my sister to addiction…. When I was 24 years old, I took my first hit of crack cocaine with [my uncle] and became very addicted. My disease progressed for 13 years and led me to the streets.” Today, Terry is a proud 2005 graduate of the Magdalene program and a beautiful example of the belief that love is stronger than all of the forces that drive women to the streets.
Several months ago, Terry said to Thistle Stop Café manager, Courtney Sobieralski,“I had a God dream last night. God told me I’m supposed to be making people coffee.” Courtney was inspired by Terry’s new commitment to become a certified barista, so together they started researching ways to make it happen. Terry spent time shadowing professionals like the talented and generous Kim Franklin of Just Love Coffee Roasters and learned to create latte art, but she wanted to learn more. They read about the professional certification organization, Barista Guild of America and its upcoming Barista Camp. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for Terry to immerse herself in the barista world, gain a prestigious certification, and bring home an abundance of knowledge and skills to the Thistle Stop Café, but the cost was daunting. Still, she was determined to find a way.
Lo and behold, they heard about an online contest which offered an all-expense-paid trip to the 2014 Barista Camp. She entered the contest and was on her way. About a week in, she was hovering in third place. Thistle Farms and Thistle Stop staff members, led by their belief in Terry, banded together with volunteers and friends across the web to rally support. Facebook posts were shared and re-shared. Tweets were re-tweeted. As word spread, Terry got a little help from some well-connected friends including Country music star Jennifer Nettles. Then, New York Times best-selling author and friend of Thistle Farms, Jon Acuff tweeted and posted about Terry on his blog. Viral does not begin to describe the response to Jennifer and Jon’s posts. Terry shot from third place to a thousand-vote lead in a matter of hours.
A quote from Thistle Farms' Facebook wall sums it up, "I entered the contest and even I voted for her!” You know how the story ends… Terry won and will be head to Texas in a few weeks for Barista Camp where she'll earn her Level 1 Barista Certification! So, next time you stop in at Thistle Stop Café for a latte crafted by Terry, remember that one woman's story has the power to change the world, one cup at a time.
Story by Ashlyn King
Thistle Farms Intern
Thistle Farms Intern