A barista is only as good as their tools, and one of the most important tools in any barista’s toolbox is their apron. And if you’re going to wear an apron, it might as well be an expertly crafted, custom apron made from high quality fabric- something that reflects the quality and craft that goes into a good cup of coffee. We asked Angela Muniz, founder of Girl From Arizona Aprons, what goes into a custom made apron.
How did you start making custom aprons?
Earlier this year, a chef friend asked if I knew a tailor who could modify an apron he’d bought. The straps didn’t fit quite right. I told him I knew how to sew and could probably adjust it. I ended up making him one from scratch. He’s got a big Instagram following and a popular restaurant, so it wasn’t long before other chefs were asking if I’d make some for them. The real shift to creating an online business came when one of our Phoenix resort chefs asked for 26 for his crew. I already knew there was a demand for custom aprons, and that just confirmed it could be more than a hobby.
What’s your relationship with specialty coffee?
My relationship? It’s probably the best love affair I’ve had…. That’s a joke. Kind of.
I started drinking espresso regularly a few years ago after a trip to Italy and just as Cartel Coffee Lab was really starting to grow in Phoenix. It’s my neighborhood coffee shop, and the staff really helped me understand flavors and brewing. From there, it just got wrapped up into my travel routine. I started visiting coffee roasters and shops in other cities. When Instagram took off, I “met” even more coffee people. So now it’s not just that great coffee helps me write and create, but there is a social aspect I know I’ll always find no matter where I am.
From picking to roasting to serving, coffee is hand-crafted. Do you think this adds to the appeal of a hand-crafted apron for baristas?
I think baristas, as well as chefs and brewers, have a natural appreciation for the quality and uniqueness of something handmade. There are many pieces that have to come together to create a cup of coffee, a craft beer, or a menu and once you know what it takes, there’s an even stronger connection and interest to support everyone who contributes to it.
Do you have any favorite materials? Any aprons you’re particularly proud of?
Well, denim is a never-fail material for an apron. Right now, I’m really into black denims. We’ve done several custom orders using different types. It always has a sleek and classic look but is so versatile. You can dress it up or keep it casual depending on how you contrast pockets and trims.
It’s hard to pick just one apron I’m proud of. I still get excited to see custom orders and prototypes come together…. I am extremely happy to see my first apron in such good shape after six months of serious kitchen use. The only thing I would change would be a slightly heavier denim that resisted odors. Gotta love a chef who loves pork belly – but it sure does splatter.
What are your favorite cafes in Arizona?
We have such an amazing choice of local roasters here. Cartel Coffee Lab is my neighborhood spot and I’m lucky because they always have a good espresso. Press Coffee Roasters has perfected toddy on tap, so if I’m in North Scottsdale, I’ll always stop by. And Crepe Bar serves Heart from Portland that’s always fantastic on drip or V-60.
What would you say to baristas who don’t wear aprons?
Baristas are some of the most stylish people I know. I understand a hesitation to cover up an outfit with an apron, but you also don’t want to stain it with grinds or spills. The goal with GFA aprons and other custom designs is to create something to match the baristas’ personalities as well as help them continue to make great coffee.
Photos by Mark Lipczynski and Girl From Arizona Aprons