When you think of the word barista, it’s likely you have a very specific image in your head. Whether it’s your own neighborhood coffee slinger or the stereotypical glasses and tattoo type, it’s probably safe to assume that image doesn’t involve nudity (and if it does, that’s a whole other thing).
But for most of you, that picture is about to get a serious revision because Denver’s male baristas, with the help of two local ladies, have decided to strip down to their skivvies in order to raise awareness for a good cause. Get ready, because your morning coffee is about to get a lot hotter.
The project called “Hot Shots” began when Chelsea Keeney, a Denver food writer, and her sister, Julia Morgan, an area photographer, joined forces to create a calendar as a way to promote the booming Denver coffee industry. Keeney explained she had the idea for the calendar brewing in her head for some time but decided to pull the trigger when she heard about a charity that supports women in the coffee industry.
“I found out about IWCA [International Women’s Coffee Alliance] through Cherry Roast (an all women’s latte art throw down that raises money for the IWCA) and it was a no brainer. As soon as I found the charity, I was dead set on making it happen this year, ” said Keeney.
From there, it only took Keeney six weeks to produce the actual calendar because, as one barista explained, the idea to raise money for the coffee community was a big motivator.
“I sort of jumped at the opportunity to bare all for the sake of coffee,” said Roman “Turkey Sandwich” DeShong of Amethyst Coffee. “Plus it’s for a great cause that doesn’t get enough recognition.”
Aside from the charity element, Keeney explained she wanted to create the calendar with a “hilariously sexual” concept as a way to flip the script on using overtly sexual women as a marketing tool to gain people’s attention.
“You can get attention in a lot of ways, and I think that juxtaposing goofy men as a means to draw attention to women in coffee is a head-turning alternative to over-sexualizing women,” she said. “The Hot Shot calendar is hilariously sexualized and you really can’t look away.”
Inside its pages you’ll find shirtless baristas doing everything from dunking their head in water to being showered in coffee beans.
“Andrew is the cover shot. He let me pour coffee all over his face. He got pretty into it,” said Keeney.
However, not all the participants were into stripping for the calendar—at first. She explained one barista was against taking his shirt off but by the end of the shoot he was “sprawled across the counter with coffee sacks draped over his boxers to make it look like he is completely nude with the exception of cowboy boots,” said Keeney. “We didn’t force him to do anything but it just evolved into this ridiculous setup.”
Since the release of the calendar, baristas all over the city have been clamoring to participate in next year’s edition. She’s received so many she’s even started a hashtag #HotShotEnvy and a corresponding Instagram so she can share ones that didn’t make the cut.
“Hot Shot envy is real,” said Keeney.
If you want to purchase a calendar for $25, you can go online here (there are holiday cards, too). And as Keeney pointed out, all the baristas and shops are local so you can even head into your local shop and get it signed by your man of the month. Participating shops include Amethyst, Aviano, Black Eye, Corvus, Crema, Little Owl, Lula Rose, Middle State, Pablos, Port Side, Prodigy and Thump.