The Chocolate Barista was supposed to be a lifestyle blog, to be honest...once I introduced what my coffee experience was like as a Black woman and saw the reception from that, I realized race was a missing conversation overall and decided to dig into that. 
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I recently had the opportunity to photograph + interview Michelle Johnson aka “The Chocolate Barista” for my upcoming coffee table book on coffee culture. She’s a coffee professional that recently moved to Los Angeles. I’ve known Michelle for a while, and it has been inspiring to watch her use her platform - including a live podcast series with other black coffee professionals, “Black Coffee” to create a space for the coffee community to begin to address its lack of representation.

 

 

 
 Michelle Johnson for Americano Mondays
 
 Michelle Johnson for Americano Mondays
 

The Coffee Manufactory at The ROW in downtown Los Angeles.

 
 Michelle Johnson for Americano Mondays
I loathed the idea of ever living in LA for years and never saw it for myself. Other people saw it for me way before I did. But once I started opening up to the idea, I couldn’t find a reason not to move here and I’m SO glad I did...What stands out to me, even more, is how many coffee places are owned and operated by Black folks and people of color. It’s awesome to be able to spend time regularly at those places and see myself represented behind the bar elsewhere too (my own company, included!). I’m really loving it.