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The man behind the brew

The alure of hot coffee and fluffy pastries attract students and faculty like bugs to a bright light, but a familiar, welcoming face keeps bringing them back for more.

“Hey, how are you? You’re awesome. You’re amazing,” said Hava Java Supervisor Matt Mortazavi.

Mortazavi started at Hava Java two years ago, but he didn’t have any coffee experience prior to landing the job. Mortazavi worked as a restaurant supervisor at one of the best hotels in Sarasota, Florida after moving to the U.S. from Iran.

“I usually don’t drink coffee, so when I started working here I was extremely nervous for the first couple of days. I thought it was too much stuff to learn, too many shots and flavors. It took me about a week to learn everything,” he said. “After three weeks of working here, I was promoted to supervisor.”

Mortazavi begins an average day at Hava Java at 5:30 a.m. He preps, bakes, cleans and organizes everything needed to start the day. At 7 a.m. he opens the gates and awaits his first customer.

“When I come to work, it’s not about me anymore,” said Mortazavi.

He said the cup of coffee he makes is a personal beverage, and it’s his personal involvment as a supervisor that has connected him to customers.

“I have a lot of regular customers. I would estimate approximately half of the people at ORU. I think it’s the coffee,” he said. “If I were working at Moe’s, maybe they wouldn’t like me so much.”

At certain times of the day, the lines are so long that they extend into the walkway, obstructing the flow of traffic.

“My first experience working when the lines were extremely long was crazy. I was exhausted and so I began making a lot of mistakes. I poured coffee on myself, poured a lot of milk on the floor, and in 30 seconds there was coffee, milk and syrup everywhere,” said Mortazavi. “After the line went down, I realized that no matter how hectic it may get when the shop gets really busy, I have to do my job.”

The coffee supervisor appreciates the people at ORU for their patience during the hectic moments.

“I believe they don’t mind because they understand that when it’s their turn, I will give them a great coffee,” said Mortazavi. “My goal is for them to have the best experience possible when they come in.”

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