We had the good fortune of connecting with Mir. Marshall and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mir., do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
I got into coffee because I love coffee. It’s ever changing and evolving—there’s so much to learn about and so many directions that you can dive into and discover. It’s fascinating! But that’s coffee, not the coffee industry. Working in the coffee industry, more so the specialty coffee industry, I would be lying if I said that there wasn’t a racial and social imbalance. As a queer black masculine presenting woman, I am definitely not the face of this industry or even a face that comes to mind. There’s a lack of representation that I seek to fill. I want to build a brand that helps correct that imbalance and change the narrative through chill vibes and great coffee. No matter what you look like or how you identify I want you to know that you have a brand you can connect with. I say that to say, because Im looking to build something that aligns so heavily with my values and represents me as a person I can’t give up. Even on days where its stressful and it seems like I’m behind on everything or nothings working out the way I wanted it to, or the sales aren’t coming in or shipping delays are kicking my butt, there’s no way I can give up. Someone, somewhere right now is waiting for their coffee to arrive so that they can start their day or end their night or hype themselves up for their second shift. Someone’s waiting for that. I can’t give up. The moment you create something and give it to the world its no longer yours. Someones waiting on you to tell your story, someone is waiting to find themselves in your art. And coffee is art. Besides, I can’t imagine working for someone else after experiencing working for myself during the pandemic, so in all realness there just is no giving up.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am the Owner & Coffee Director at Verb. Coffee Roasters, we’re a small batch coffee roasting company operating out of the West End in Atlanta. We started up during the pandemic which has presented its own set of unique problems but our philosophy is if we can make it work during the pandemic we can overcome anything! There’s space to be filled in the world of Specialty Coffee. Black owned coffee businesses, Queer owned coffee businesses, women owned businesses–sometimes we get overlooked or if we do get eyes on us its when its socially trendy to do so or feeds a larger call to action that highlights our work as something unique or exotic. That’s not to say it’s not sincere but sincerity, intention and action are concepts that constantly have to be evaluated from a slightly removed perspective. In coffee, theres a lot of coding. When you look like me, or present like me you find yourself molding yourself to be what is acceptable. When I started this company I promised myself I would always keep it comfortable. Professional yet comfortable and never have to compromise in order to be safe or respected in the industry. Instead of trying to morph to fit someone else’s ideal of what a barista or coffee professional looks like or acts like I’d just create my own space. That’s what we seek to build at Verb. Comfortable spaces where you can express yourself.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We’d hit up Stone Mountain for a hike, grab some Korean stew off of Buford Highway, maybe some norebang after, get coffee and macaroons at Mac Lab in Duluth and Ming’s after for dinner. Start the next day with a walk on the beltline. Coffee at Spiller in PCM, coffee at 8Arm, coffee at Full Commission, a stroll through the cemetery, dancing and late night drinks at My Sisters Room breakfast at West Egg, coffee at Brash, a day of shopping around Lenox and then at the shops around the Marta stop in Decatur. Then its just a combination of coffee shops and bookstores until the visits over catching underground shows as the come. That would be ideal–pre/post pandemic of course.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Merle Law, they taught me how to express power with grace and kindness & how to experience coffee not just enjoy it. I’d also like to shout out Helen Choi. Hel constantly set an example of how to balance life and work. She showed me that balance is not always equal and that work life shouldn’t be 50/50 but rather tipped in a manner of putting yourself first. Considering yourself first so that you can hold space for others.
Other: instagram: @coffeeplugatl
The Kodak K