I started my coffee journey as a tired college student working full time as a server. I was drinking diner coffee with like 8 sugar packets and 4 creamer cups. Eventually I started trying coffee shops (like Starbucks) and soon local craft shops. As an Auburn resident I of course ended up in Mama Mochas, who has been a leading force in the Auburn coffee scene since 2012. I was in and out of Mama Mochas since junior high in 2013, but didn't start drinking their espresso until 2016 as a college student. My roommate worked there and though I desperately wanted to as well I didn't want to affect that friendship. As my current job situation soured, Mama Mochas posted they were hiring and I applied with my roommates' blessing. I quit waiting tables and starting slinging espresso. I fell, HARD, into the job and less than a year after starting I helped launch a breakfast program, and then became an assistant manager.
In 2020 the world held its breath as we collectively decided what to do about COVID. 2/3 of the staff went home and quarantined. By default I became the general manager. Myself and a few others stayed working. We shuttered the cafe and sold coffee and PPE and food out of our front door. We wore masks and gloves and hoped for months. We ordered less and ran as lean as we could. Sarah and I only planned for a week or two out at a time; never knowing if a mandate or illness would seal our fate and we'd have to close. Restrictions lightened and people kept supporting our pickup-only setup. Mama Mochas survived.
in late 2020 Sarah approached me and told me she was pregnant, and had doubts about being able to manage three businesses and a family. What started as a joke about selling the coffee shop turned into serious discussions about my interest in taking over the Auburn store. In February 2021 we announced that the Mama Mochas Emporium would close in June and I would take over ownership and open under a new name - Coffee Mafia.
Now I live and breathe Coffee. Myself and my team work hard to make killer espresso and continue to be the highest-volume espresso bar in Auburn; selling tried-and-true dark roast Italian inspired coffee and providing an accepting and welcoming space to anybody who wants to feel safe and have a good coffee. We're not pretentious, we're not selling overpriced coffee, we're giving people what they want and asking for authenticity from all who visit us.