Local Barista Hopes To One Day Open Own Store

For Kaleb Murphy, you could say the Radina’s coffeeshop he works at is sort of a first command, something akin to the way sea captains command smaller boats before moving on to larger, more valuable ones.

Or at least, that’s the type of progression Murphy, barista and Manhattan resident, said he’s hoping for.

“That’s how I like to see it as, because I’ve got the responsibility most managers have but I don’t have the responsibility of dealing with the employees,” Murphy said.

The coffeeshop he manages and operates is the Radina’s in the K-State engineering building, just beyond the glass doors of the recent Phase IV expansion project.

The location is small. Murphy is the only employee of the location, serving as both the manager and the minion at the same time. Before long, however, Murphy said he expects more responsibility might be heading his way.

“The owner told me in about a year he’d like to see me at an actual store managing,” Murphy said.

Murphy said he started working for Radina’s almost two years ago, starting with the location in aggieville, then moved to his current posting in January.

Murphy said he originally applied to various coffeeshops, including Bluestem Bistro and Radina’s when he was initially trying to become a barista. His big break, however, did not come until he had been a customer at Radina’s for a while.

“It wasn’t until I started getting to know the baristas better at the Aggieville location that they’re like ‘we’ll put our name up there and you’re guaranteed an interview,” Murphy said. “It’s good to be on our good side.”

Initially he applied for a management position at the Radina’s in aggieville, but didn’t get it because he didn’t have prior management experience. So instead, after working for a while as a barista, he was given the helm of the Radina’s in the engineering complex.

“You’ve got manager responsibilities (such as) ordering for a smaller store,” Murphy said. “ordering is the hardest part for managers to learn, because a lot of times they either over-order or under-order and they run out of things.”

Now, Murphy said he hopes to use this experience to propel him not only up the ranks of the Radina’s chain, but possibly even further.

“As every job has, it has it’s downsides, but for someone who wants to open his own coffeeshop someday I try to learn as much as possible and find the joy in it, and for me the joy for it is actually making the coffee, talking to the customers trying to get to know what they like,” Murphy said. “Right now I’d love to sit down with the roaster in aggieville and learn how to roast or the theory of roasting, just so I know what to look for.”