The Chocolate Barista
Introducing Michelle Johnson
Meet Michelle Johnson, marketing professional, creative director, and culture writer and entrepreneur in the coffee industry. Originally from DC, Michelle has traveled across the country and overseas discovering new and innovative ways to push the coffee industry forward. Michelle started her first barista job at 19 at an independent coffee shop in DC and later moved to specialty coffee where she thrived in the complexities of coffee. From going to cuppings to learning how to train her palate, what kept Michelle in the coffee industry was the community of baristas she met along the way.
After working 7 ½ years in coffee, Michelle’s desire is to see others feel more empowered to “pick up coffee and create their own stories with it.” She wants baristas to know they can carve their own path in coffee and forge a career. The industry has allowed Michelle to be incredibly creative and given her the platform to grow her own business and get the message of diversity out.
Michelle manages The Chocolate Barista, a blog that focuses on the promotion of racial diversity and inclusivity in the specialty coffee industry one black cup at a time. As a black entrepreneur and women in the coffee industry, Michelle encourages other baristas of color to “take up space, y’all! Coffee is grown by Black and brown hands and it is in our blood. This is just one of many things part of us and our destiny!”
Michelle states that her entrepreneurial dreams for the future are to “turn The Chocolate Barista into a full blown parent company that includes creative pieces by myself and other Black people in coffee (writing, podcasts, photos, etc), a consulting business for diversity and marketing, and an ongoing scholarship fund to help people do whatever it is they need or want to do in the industry!”