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Oregon's barista jobs expected to grow 15 percent by 2024

Just how many people in Oregon make a living slinging espresso shots?

EO MEDIA GROUP - The state says the number of baristas in Oregon should increase by 15 percent by 2024.There may be no greater symbol of the Pacific Northwest's beverage reputation than a cup of joe.

Oregon in particular has become known for a wide variety of high-quality coffee purveyors, a group known colloquially as the Third Wave.

(For novices: an example of first wave coffee is the Folgers your grandparents knew and loved, and second wave is best described by the specialty Americanized espresso drinks proffered by Starbucks and Dutch Brothers in the late '80s and early '90s. Third wave is set apart by its focus on sourcing and artisanal preparation methods, exemplified by Portland's Stumptown or Chicago's Intelligentsia).

With jobs in other specialty beverage industries like beer and wine — the "alcohol cluster" — providing more jobs to Oregonians than software companies, just how many people in Oregon make a living slinging espresso shots?

According to the state's employment department, about 8,100 people work as baristas in Oregon, and the number of barista jobs is projected to grow 15 percent by 2024.

That's a result of expected high demand for the caffeinated stuff, according to the employment department, mostly in the state's urban areas. Today, about a third of Oregon's barista jobs are located in Portland. Vying for second place are Salem (18 percent) and Central Oregon (17 percent).

As with most food service workers, baristas typically make minimum wage, with opportunities for tips, although big companies such as Starbucks are starting to offer more "perks" such as health insurance and savings plans, according to the employment department. (Worth noting that the Employment Department only interviewed Starbucks employees, choosing not to dive into the economic underbelly of Oregon's high-end coffee scene, where pour-overs can cost $3 or $4).

Complicating the picture, though, is the fact that the price of coffee is likely to escalate as supplies of the magical beans start to dwindle.

In late 2016, the coffee world was buzzing about findings that the areas suitable for growing coffee will fall by half due to the globe's escalating temperatures by 2050, the New York Times reported.

So, in the future, will people cut back on their coffee consumption in an effort to save money, undercutting the growth of barista jobs in the Beaver State? Perhaps only time will tell.

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