Please meet Karla Mancio, our next FREDA Girl. Karla is the head Roaster/Manager/Barista at our favorite coffee shop Cibo, which is down the street from our office in Sausalito. She has one of the warmest smiles, so her greeting in the morning starts the day off right. Over the years she has become a friend and we have watched her career grow within Cibo, from working the register to training with Blue Bottle to be a barista, to ultimately being the one in charge of roasting Cibo’s coffee. Needless to say the coffee is incredible, because Karla is really good at what she does, but what we love most about her is her guts to follow her passion. It’s hard to veer off the path we think we are supposed to go down, but when it is right, it is sooo right. In Karla’s case, her choice proves to be the right one and we are so thankful for the love she pours into her craft and the community she has created.
Tell us a little about yourself growing up?
I grew up in Marin, an only child to a single mother, that learned fairly quickly if I said I
had to read after dinner it would get me out of doing dishes. Ha. I loved summer camp, I played the flute better than I played the piano but tried both. My mom made me do summer school most of elementary school because sometimes camps weren’t fisable but also because I didn’t learn english until I started school. My mom was a weekend nanny for a wonderful family that was ok with me coming with her to work. Have you ever watched Spanglish ? My life was a little like that. I would spend the weekends in Tiburon at this massive house where you can see the entire city, windows from floor to ceiling. Swam and played at the tennis club, went out on their boat out in the bay, they even took me skiing and on Sundays we went back home to our tiny apartment in a different town. I played in the middle school and high school band (it was cool ok, we got to go to Hawaii for a competition.) I played and loved volleyball but at some point I became vertically challenged, ha. There were always expectations of me doing well in school and I had a fear of disappointing.
The Freda team obviously loves Cibo, but please us what you do at Cibo for our readers? 🙂
Cibo, I love Cibo too. Well, my position over the years has evolved quite a bit.
Currently I’m the Head Roaster/Manager/Barista. I’ve been with company 8 years now and when I began I was at the cash register; taking orders, smiling (do so willing)providing customer service etc. Becoming a barista was a natural progression for me. I worked a foot away from the barista, learning what I could by watching and when there was an opening I asked to be considered. At the time we served Blue Bottle and off I went to get trained; right as it was exploding and becoming this massive company that it is now. They introduced me to the rabbit hole that is coffee. I started to see coffee as a craft. What it meant to really enjoy a cup of coffee free of milk and sugar and how it can be such a pleasant experience. These days, I do a little bit of everything. I help manage the daily operations, few days a week I’m working the bar; serving coffee and a few days a week I roast coffee. As an in house roaster I get to make buying decision as to what will be served and sold at Cibo. Creating roast profiles for the coffees we choose to buy and roast the restaurants productions needs. I work closely with the owners Tera and Alfredo Ancona both whom are chefs that have helped me develop a palate and a fascination with quality food and drink and have allowed me to grow in their beautiful company.
Who inspires you in your personal or professional life?
You know Rupi Kaur? She’s an amazing poet. She came on the scene pushing
boundaries of what is considered “literary” by some circles. That can be so discouraging for anyone that has a craft that they nurture. But, off she went to publish her most intimate writing and it resonated with people and the fact that she puts it on her instagram and people that normally wouldn’t pick up a poetry book are connecting wit it, discussing it, sharing it. I guess it’s her fearlessness and her dedication to her art that’s inspiring. Any artist really, people that decide that this thing that is a little unstable but they love to do is worth the any kind of sacrifice.Forever and always my mother. Anything that I wanted to do she made it happen; gymnastics, piano lessons, summer camps. A Guatemalan immigrant single mother! I look back in awe that she made my life so amazing, I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but she never let me know.
What motivates you?
The idea of ‘look what I’ve managed to do already, I wonder what else I can do if I put in some elbow grease. The need to constantly be growing and learning, always trying to become a better version of myself.
What has been your most monumental moment in your life?
Deciding to become a Coffee Roaster. I knew I liked coffee, and the hustle and bustle of the industry in general. But, I feared that I was making the wrong decision. Was I really going say ‘oh you know what this degree that I got, that I spent so many years working on, stressing about, sacrificed so much for–I’m just going to put this here and do something completely different.’ How many times have you heard that story though, Lol.. But, accepting that what made me happy at some point wasn’t anymore and I had to go do the thing that made me feel good at the end of the day.
Describe Freda in 3 words.
Funky compliment magnets, “What are those?!”–but in a good way you know, cool girl chic, casual cute errday (said with Nelly accent)
What is your favorite activity in your free time?
Reading, you can do it anywhere and you can learn anything.