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Senior Green Coffee Specialist
Senior Green Coffee Specialist
Company: Starbucks Cofee
Best Companies rank: 98

Imagine if you were paid to get your caffeine fix. Okay, it's not exactly that simple, but Leslie Wolford, one of Starbucks' Senior Green Coffee Specialists, does sip coffee for a living.

Every day, she and two other people in Seattle sample about a teaspoon's worth of anywhere from 60 to 120 samples of Starbucks coffee from all over the world before green-lighting blends to sell in stores. Wolford says she has a sensitive palate for coffee and can discern subtle flavors in each blend, whether citrus, floral or herbal.

A veteran of the company, Wolford started as a barista in the '80s. "When I started with Starbucks 20 years ago, I knew nothing about coffee," she says. Then in 1994, she went to Starbucks' hand-roasting facility, which was new at the time, and learned.

When that closed down five years later, she moved to Starbucks' coveted coffee department in Seattle -- the company's 20-person department that works with growers, tastes the coffee and ensures the quality of the beans.

Leslie says even though she's inundated with Starbucks brew all day, she's never sick of the beverage. Work or no work, she still enjoys her morning cup of Joe.

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Last updated January 20 2011: 6:18 AM ET
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