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Aaron McKnight: Story of a Balanced barista

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Aaron McKnight, a business management sophomore, is one of the newest employees at Balanced Coffee Co. and is enjoying every moment of his new job. 

“It has never felt like work yet,” McKnight said. “I honestly forget that I’m getting paid just because the owners, Mike and Lexi, just treat me so well.” 

McKnight said that he never feels overwhelmed, but he always feels relaxed on the job because he gets to do things that he loves: working with coffee, talking to customers and getting to know people.

“I love Balanced because, for me, I just think it’s a very friendly place. All the workers and the owners, they’re just so welcoming and kind.”

The job was difficult to obtain, however, McKnight said that the process took him about five months and that Balanced Coffee Co. does not have a lot of employees, due to its reputation for high quality coffee and because it doesn’t stay open as late as most coffee shops. 

“I think they chose me because I was persistent,” McKnight said. 

McKnight went to Balanced Coffee Co. all the time to study and hang out. Through this, he formed relationships with the employees and showed them his love for coffee.

“I showed them how much I wanted it,” McKnight said.

Now that McKnight is a barista at Balanced Coffee Co., he has found one of his new favorite drinks: Red Bull Italian Soda.

“Why I really like this drink is two things: how it tastes and the process it takes to make it,” McKnight said. 

McKnight described the drink as a sweet, creamy energy drink-- nothing like a normal Red Bull. The drink looks like a beige root beer float in a clear, tall glass mug. McKnight said that he loves this because the drink gives off an artsy look.

The process includes adding flavors of blackberry and vanilla, pouring in a can of Red Bull and then watching the flavors fizz together. McKnight also said that this is a great choice because the mug holds a large amount of the drink. 

Outside of working at Balanced Coffee Co., McKnight said that the place is simply an overall great business. 

“What makes Balanced a really good company, and an overall really great coffee shop, is that they really care [about their coffee,]” McKnight said. 

Balanced Coffee Co. sends their baristas to Onyx Coffee Lab, a high-end coffee business in Arkansas, in order to get fully trained, because they want their baristas to love coffee and be equip to make outstandingly well-rounded coffee. 

“That’s where their name comes from: a balanced cup of coffee. That’s what they want. That’s what they strive for,” McKnight said.