NYC in 2018: coffee & shared roasting
At our ‘Taste of NYC’ event in April, we tasted five coffees from the Big Apple. The crowd favourite was a Colombian Geisha from Joe Coffee Company.
We wanted to dive further into the NYC coffee and shared roasting scene, and who better to speak to than Joe’s Head Roaster, Andrew Oberholzer.
Q. Tell us about what’s happening in NYC coffee right now
A: The scene here has shifted to many people getting into the roasting game. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching classes at Pulley for cafe owners who are learning how to roast for their own styles and needs. It’s been very rewarding and stimulating to see the process from such a granular level.
The thing about NYC that is inspiring to me is that it’s just so vast and there is still so much room to grow and learn from each other. There is also lots of goodwill and collaboration. We often find ourselves around the same cupping tables and are always sharing samples of what we are up to. Just this past week, Nick from Juno Coffee Roasters, who roasts here in the city at another shared space dropped off the most amazing roast of fresh crop Yukro. This is a 20 year old who just started his own company with no backing and has just come out of the gates swinging. This is prime example of what I love about the coffee scene in NYC, so much passion and inspiration at every turn.
Q. Tell us about what you’re trying to do with Joe
A: The coffee that we shipped to you all is part of our Top Shelf program and it’s one of the things at Joe that I am most passionate about.
I manage our Pro Shop location which is the only multi-roaster location of our 18. We’ve spent years featuring amazing coffees from producers and roasters around the world, so we knew exactly what we appreciated when it came to truly special coffees. We wanted to put our spin on some of our favorites. It was an opportunity for my co-workers and I to taste and choose beautiful green coffees with a heavier focus on freshness and seasonality. I work with some of the best baristas in the business, so their feedback on the coffees I was roasting has proved an invaluable experience in my development (no pun intended 😃) as a roaster.
Q. Call out any recognition(s) you’ve earned
A: We just got through with an amazing competition run this year. My co-worker, David Castillo came in 4th in the US Barista Championship and I came in 6th in the US Roasters Championship.
We both used the same roast of the Frontino in our respective competitions so it was very enlightening to see the same coffee through two very different lenses. David was the only barista who made it from the quarter finals to the finals, which meant he had to compete 3 days in a row. We spent months working in a very open and collaborative environment so seeing his poise and professionalism on stage for 3 days in a row was easily the most inspiring thing I’ve ever been privy to in my 9 year coffee career.
I’m very proud of the team at Joe and honored to be a member of such an inspiring crew.
Q. Why are you roasting at a shared roaster?
A: Real estate in NYC is EXPENSIVE. We’ve also been fortunate enough to work alongside many other great roasters and have access to many shared events.
We also have a great relationship with Steve Mierisch of Pulley Collective. That relationship has afforded us access to many delicious coffees from the Mierisch family farms in Nicaragua. We recently bought a pulp natural Javanica from Steve for Top Shelf that is unlike any coffee I’ve ever encountered….very delicate and herbal with definitive notes of spearmint!!
Q. Any advice for Melbourne wholesalers/cafes considering roasting in a shared space?
A: It can seem seem like a truly daunting task when you’re looking in from the outside, but once you immerse yourself in a supportive collective community all of the anxiety dissipates.
It’s very empowering to be able to provide your customers with exactly what they want, because after all who knows your customers better than you??
If you’re the least bit curious, I’d definitely encourage you to investigate.
Q. What future plans for Joe can you tell us about?
A: With the recent investment of Danny Meyer’s EHI group, you’ll continue to see Joe grow in measured and sustainable way with a heavy focus on hospitality, internal culture, and quality.
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