Michael Mai is a great example of the type of person I meet so often in this industry. As the Coffee Manager of Mercantile & Mash in Charleston, S.C., he is inspired on a daily basis by his chosen medium for creativity, and in true Alice in Wonderland fashion, has gone “down the rabbit hole” and really delved into a whole new world. He infuses coffee, he blast chills coffee, and he’s making a coffee soda at the moment that is one of my favorite afternoon pick-me-ups. Although we picked a quiet table away from the action for our chat, you’ll still hear plenty of action, from steaming milk, ladies who can’t stop laughing, blues music, and the occasional “shhhh” sound. It’s not someone trying to quiet the room; it’s the sound of coffee beans being poured in a grinder. This is the controlled chaos of Michael’s world, and this wizard of coffee is its eye of the storm.