By Wynter Holden
27-year-old barista Joseph Boos comes off as an innocent Virgo-type, but there’s a Gemini duality brewing under the skin. His Jekyll side sings cheesy ‘80s pop tunes with his co-workers while dishing up lattes at Coffee Rush in Chandler, and speaks fluent “Starbuckanese” – though he gently reminds customers that Frappaccino is a trademark. But his alter ego, the Hyde-like character that comes out long after dark, has a full social card, likes to drink and can often be found dressed in some crazy costume at a goth/industrial club nights. Good thing he’s big on coffee, because those morning-afters can be a bitch…
Chow Bella: How did you become a barista? Joseph Boos: Several years ago, I got started doing it because my former girfriend’s mother bought [now defunct coffee shop] Essenza. It was cheap labor. She paid us enough to pay our bills, and we got fed.
CB: Do you personally own a cappuccino/espresso maker? JB: I used to have an espresso machine at my house. It was a really, really expensive investment, about $3000. My espresso machine was actually more expensive than the car I drove, which was a used ’91 Ford Escort. I ended up selling it on e-bay. [Editor's Note: The espresso machine, not the car.]
CB: Honestly, have you ever gone to Starbucks while working as a barista? JB: Once. In rural Indiana, on vacation. There was nothing else around. I did the cheap thing, because I really don’t like to give them my money. So I asked for a double shot and had them pour it over ice. Then I went over to their milk bar and made myself a latte.
CB: Tell us something strange about yourself. JB: I have this weird curse. If I’m ever sitting down, here or at a restaurant, and there’s a woman with a skirt, I will always see her underwear. My friends say it’s my God-given talent. I say there has to be modesty in this world. But there’s nothing I can say. There’s no way to say ‘um…put your legs together' without sexually harassing someone or being rude.
CB: Ever see any nudity in the shop? JB: One morning, one of my regulars came in and she just happened to be wearing a loose blouse. We’re talking, and I make some wisecrack. We’re both laughing, and she just popped out of her blouse…but she doesn’t notice. I start laughing even harder, and she does too, and finally I gasp, “Your boobie popped out.” It’s become an ongoing joke.
CB: What kind of other wacky and strange things have you heard about or experienced on the job? JB: There was a guy that would hang out here, and he would tip playing cards with random obscene things written on them…and bird feathers. He would throw these in the tip jar on a regular basis. This went on for a week or so before someone got fed up and told him to stop doing it. The guy didn’t take it really well and he never came back after that.
CB: What would you do if you won the $200 million Powerball jackpot this weekend? JB: I would hide the fact. No one would know, indefinitely. The first thing I would do is call up an accountant and find a way to claim it without putting my name to it. I’d work for a while, then just disappear completely. You hear all these horror stories about lotto winners…I don’t want anyone in my family to get kidnapped!