Manager / Director of Extraction
A native of Amarillo, Texas, independent coffee fanatic Kyle Pool quietly pulls shots behind the Ferrari of espresso machines at Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery for perhaps the millionth time – but really, who’s counting? He couldn’t be happier. “Coffee was an accidental career for me. It started as a job between jobs, and turned out to be my absolute passion.” Eight years in to it, Pool is a true member of the coffee generation, enamored with the substance from the perfect bean to the most highly specialized coffee service.
His training has been on the job, helping to open no fewer than six independent coffee shops in his career. “Much like producers of other high quality food products, most high-end roasters will bring in reps to train the staff. They’ve put so much care into their production, they want to ensure that the final step preparing it for the consumer is done right. Counter Culture Coffee does that best.”
Counter Culture Coffee, exclusive supplier to Bayou Bakery, Coffee House & Eatery, is known as the most comprehensive and progressive quality-driven company in its field. “They are unique, in that they are big enough to span the globe, coffee-wise, with staff living and working among the growers so that they truly understand where the beans are coming from; and yet they are small enough to know our coffee house, and understand our clientele’s wants and needs,” Pool explains. Bayou Bakery’s chef-owner David Guas makes sure that Pool, a manager, has every Friday morning off – not completely off, but the freedom to attend Counter Culture’s weekly ‘cupping’ in Washington. It’s like a weekly continuing education seminar, keeping Pool up to speed on the latest beans, blends, techniques, and equipment.
What’s this expert’s coffee of choice? “They laugh at me at the cuppings, which are always ‘blind tastings,’ because I always zero in on the Ethiopian coffees,” admits Pool. “I love their crispness, light body, and fruitiness – sometimes with floral notes.” His preference is for iced Americanos or macchiatos, depending on the season, and he drinks it black. “With really premium coffee like ours, any additives will mask the subtleties of the brew.” That said – he completely respects your right to a dollop of milk and honey.
It takes a dedicated professional like Pool to elevate a community’s standard of coffee, in its preparation and presentation, as well as taste. You feel the passion in each pour from Pool and his team, as they coax out the flavorful nuances in each cup. Using top-notch beans, expertly roasted, milk from local dairies, and organic honey, Pool is not an elitist, but a purist engaged in promoting one of the great epicurean pleasures. He believes that specialty coffee is equivalent to fine wine in its range and complexity, and the level of pleasure it can bring when done right – and he aims to reverse the fast-food expectations of anyone who walks in the door of a true coffee bar like Bayou Bakery. Pool's team courts enthusiasts who are not surprised at having to wait for the hand-crafted goodness of Bayou Bakery’s coffee drinks – and cheerfully explains the process to others, perhaps while bathing cups in hot water in a ritual that seems to welcome the coffee to the warmed cup.
For one coffee drinker at a time, with each artful choice he makes in the pour of each cup, Kyle Pool raises the bar.