Rising Star Emily Letia of Empire State South - Biography

Atlanta, GA

June 2012

There is a common geekery that can be traced through each of Emily Letia’s roles. A former IT trainer, she was introduced to specialty coffee in 2008 and found that her right-brain was just as ardent as her left. While hoping to expand her IT career, she found herself making coffee at Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee House, and was intrigued by the complexity of coffee science.
Like many other Atlanta baristas, Letia went from Land of a Thousand Hills to taking courses through Counter Culture Coffee’s Counter Intelligence program. As she continued her IT training, she also volunteered and attended many local coffee events to stay relevant. Eventually, coffee won over as a vocation, and in 2010 she became a certified barista of Condesa Coffee and began working at Empire State South. Letia went from a volunteer barista at the World Barista Competition in 2009 to a sensory judge for the Southeast Regional Barista Competition in 2012.
Coffee provides an avenue for her ever-increasing appetite to learn and discover. Her role at Empire State South allows her to draw on her training background as she educates both staff and guests on coffee varieties and brew chemistry. And that knowledge helped earn her a 2012 Atalanta Rising Star Barista Award. Letia hopes that the movement of good coffee in restaurants grows as chefs recognize the value of coffee professionals. She hopes that more and more chefs learn as much about the coffee that their restaurants provide as they know about the meat, produce, and wine that they serve.