Happening this Thursday, August 23rd, the second in an ongoing series of “Baristas For Boobs” benefits hosted by our friends at Joe NYC. These events raise funds directly for Carrie Webster, a longtime barista, former Portlander, and current Assistant Manager at Joe who is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The event takes place at the Joe Pro Shop (131 W 21st Street, Manhattan), beginning at 7pm. If you live in New York or are within easy Bolt Bus distance or something, you should totally go.

The first “Baristas For Boobs” event was held last April at the Joe NYC 13th Street cafe  – around a hundred and fifty people attended, and close to $3000 was raised, according to industry do-gooder Matt Banbury, who is also a manager at Joe. The second Baristas For Boobs event is a little different from the first, so Mr. Banbury was kind enough to take a few moments to speak with us on what attendees should expect.

Sprudge: Matt, thanks for taking a second with us. Can you tell us just a little bit of background about Baristas For Boobs?

Matt Banbury: Last winter, my friend and coworker Carrie Webster was diagnosed with breast cancer. Carrie moved out to New York from Portland not that long ago, and she’s become a part of our family here. Carrie actually has good health insurance through her job, so the focus here is not to pay for her treatment, which is of course a good thing. But having had a lot of friends and family who have been through cancer treatment, it always seems like even with medical insurance, sometimes the reimbursements don’t come quickly enough, or there are gaps, and the financial burden is SO massive…a lot of times people who are in those situations can’t like, go out and get a sandwich, or see a movie because they’ve got to go pay for chemo.

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Sprudge: So the first event you held – it sounds like that went really well? Tell us more.

Matt: Oh for sure.  Specialty coffee in New York is such a tight-knit group right now… Jonathan [Rubinstein, Joe’s owner] is of course always supportive of anything staff wants to do, and we had a ton of other people sponsor that first event, like Third Rail Coffee. People just came out of the woodwork, and we raised almost $3000 for Carrie.

Sprudge: Tell us a little bit more about what you have planned for this upcoming event.

Matt: This time around, we’re asking $20 a pour from competitors – it should be a big throwdown, and we’ve got some great prizes for the winners. It’s a great way to set the bar and make this a one-time ticket price on the door kind of situation. You get a shirt, you get to pour, there’s beer, and you don’t have to worry about anything else. People can still absolutely contribute if they don’t plan on pouring, and there will be opportunities to make direct donations to Carrie at the event. There’s also going to be an open coffee bar beforehand in the Joe Pro Shop.

Sprudge: Around how many people total are in the latte art competition bracket? And can you tell us more about prizes?

Matt: Last time it was around 24 people total, so my guess it’ll be right around that many again this time. There are a bunch of prizes: Mike Philips from Handsome Coffee Roasters is in town, and he’ll be giving out bags of Handsome to competitors; Joe NYC will be offering bags of coffee off the shelf of any Joe store, one per week for a whole month; and Keith Gehrke from Able Brewing helped us put together a great prize package for the winner, which is a brand new Kone 3.0, an 8 cup Chemex, a scale, and a pouring pitcher.

Sprudge: You’re right, Matt, that is actually a great bunch of prizes. We really wish we could be there for this event…

Matt: Yeah, well…you guys will just have to come to the one we throw when Carrie is in remission.

Baristas For Boobs is Thursday, August 23rd, at the Joe Pro Shop [131 W 21st Street, Manhattan] beginning at 7pm. Out of town, or unable to attend the event? Email baristasforboobs@gmail.com for more information on how you can help.

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