The Máquina Project

•February 26, 2017 • Leave a Comment

So it’s been a couple of months now of doing everything we can to get the word out about Máquina Coffee and trying to get the coffee into reputable hands and shops around the country. So far the reception has been great, and very slowly there is a cult-like following with Máquina.

There are many models that we could follow if we wanted to. The more obvious and typical model is that of getting an investor (or many) and just go all out and build a cathedral to coffee and just create a true show stopper right out of the gate. I understand this model, and I get the reasons behind it, but I am a humble and modest person from modest means and I have ZERO desire to feel like I owe anyone anything. I would rather struggle for longer, and build things slowly and organically in a way that makes sense and keep my life at a level that is sustainable and wow, ENJOYABLE versus being indebted to several entities for years just to get a really amazing salary and space right away.

There is something just, (I struggle to find the words here) truthful about taking the harder but more honest road (and definitely longer) and going bit by bit with a business that is all my own. Truth be told, I would be stoked to go at a pace where I wouldn’t ever need more than one more employee besides myself. If I can actually do this on my own, and still support and provide for my family (along with my wife) then I can say I will have accomplished what I set out to do. That and also just be able to provide really, really delicious TRULY seasonal coffee.

I am obsessed with seasonality. I am obsessed with never having a coffee for more than 5 months at a time because even with a high grown high quality coffee the mouthfeel and vibrancy fades. If I ran a cafe, I would maybe think differently on this because I would want something very steady and consistent in the cafe. Which is exactly why I cannot imagine owning a cafe in the traditional sense. Who knows, I may eat my own words in a year or two! This is tough though, and scary and something I am just completely unfamiliar with. Owning a business. You do end up eating your own words or learning from your own truths once it is YOUR skin in the game instead of collecting a paycheck where it’s easy to sit back and critique and shit on everything an owner is seemingly doing wrong but at the end of the day they are still able to get you your paycheck on time. I fucking hope this all works out, and I am able to get a steady run of committed customers who believe in what we do and what we do well. Only time will tell. One thing tho, I fucking HATED working for someone else and on someone else’s time. It is so so so nice not to answer to anyone that way any more. It is so nice to be able to be honest about the things you believe in without feeling like you were deceiving the party line.

Let’s hope I can carry this forth with dignity and respect and honesty from day one. I think it is more than possible, I think in these times it is absolutely necessary.

Holidaze Craze

•November 30, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Thanksgiving with family is the best. This was the first year in many that we were all on the same coast and no need to travel to see anyone. Pennsylvania has been very kind to us and our meal was delicious, our laughs many and games exciting.

I finally launched my own little roasting company called Máquina Coffee Roasters! It’s been over ten years of talking about it and the day finally came where we were in  position to start this thing with zero debt, all bootstrap and sweat equity and I am roasting coffee off a 5 kilo Probat in my garage. The dream has come true.

shameless plug here :

Life out east was missed, specifically during the autumn and holidays. Nothing compares to the east coast when it comes to the Holiday feel. Nothing. The leaves finally falling off the trees, the shift in temp and smell in the air and the navy peacoats, tall boots (Equestrian or hiking), scarves, hot chocolates and mulled cider plus apples and pumpkins. The colors orange, brown and burgundy are everywhere and people start wearing wool socks.

We spent hours raking our almost acre property, and stuffing many many many leaves into paper bags. We loved every minute of it.

Nothing beats getting up on a Sunday morning, having breakfast with my wife and daughter then heading into the garage to fire the roaster up to roast up a few orders worth of coffee. NOTHING. I feel more grateful than ever to be able to do things on my own terms, the way i have always wanted to do it, with grace, pace and quality in mind.

I miss my friends back in California something awful, and I am grateful for their love and support throughout the many years I spent out there. Thank you.



It’s only been almost 3 years

•August 15, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I am no longer living in California. I am no longer working for Sightglass. I am no longer worried about affordable living and quality of life. We are living in West Chester Pennsylvania and I have a day job I really dig and a passion project I get to work on on my own time. Maquina Coffee Roasters will be available online soon, and I will be able to roast awesome coffees that I love mostly for friends and family and folks who trust my taste in coffee. I am working for a great company with awesome things in store and it has brought me challenges in the best ways. I am just stoked to be closer to family and roots on the east coast and I am so happy to be able to afford to live the life I value, the way I see fit in a place that is truly beautiful and family friendly. Our experience in the Bay Area was that of people just not being stoked to see kids, and this just always made me feel odd in all kinds of situations.

Mae and I have been through some intense things in our relationship. My last job was pretty horrible to be frank. The people were amazing, most of them anyway, but it just wasn’t a good fit for the things I value and the kind of person I am. I am grateful anyway. Everything is a learning experience or a chance at a life lesson. I met some amazing people on these journeys but I also met some pretty shitty ones. I shouldn’t say that, just ok people with some shitty ideas as to what a good person ought to be I guess is a better way of saying it. Just bad vibez.

I don’t think anyone reads this blog anyway, so I don’t mind being honest about stuff. I have come to appreciate differences in folks, and kindness and willingness to look beyond appearances. In Pennsylvania folks have been ridiculously sweet and kind. It’s been a fairly easy transition aside from the fucking humidity. JEEEEZUS.




•February 10, 2014 • 2 Comments

Sorry about that. Been away a bit. Some things have shifted, changed, improved and even flourished while I wasn’t posting.

First things first, happy new year. 2014, incredible. Ocean’s Twelve was released 10 years ago already. I am 35, and experiencing the real awareness that I am indeed getting older. I get upset when folks in the media, arts, entertainment industry start passing away much like my mother got upset at her own mortality hitting her in the face when a singer she loved for decades would pass away from old age and sometimes, not so old age.

Second, we have a baby girl. Best thing in the entire world. She is a wild child, with a huge smile and even bigger heart. She makes my heart swell with pride and joy and absolute, unconditional crazy love. What an amazing thing it is to be a father. I had no idea of course, and now I get it. She’s fantastic, and has taught me about real love and joy, and compassion. I am grateful to have the privilege to raise her alongside my wife. She means everything to me, and definitely drives me to be a better person and a person of integrity as I know now that it is my duty to be a good example and role model for her, no matter what.

Third, we purchased a home in the bay area. Unreal. Fucking awesome and a testament to hard work, commitment and GREAT credit. LOL. We have had this dream for years, and finally were able to make it a reality.

Fourth, I quit my job. There is a sense of panic there of course, but a sense of jubilation as well. New found freedom and time to spend with loved ones. I can read, paint, draw and just hang out with my family with ease and without the stress of BART, emails or phone calls. I am grateful for the experience but even more grateful for the future I will be able to provide for my family. Great things ahead for sure. Exciting year for myself and my family.

The end of 2012

•December 30, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Wow, it’s been quite a bit since I last posted. Seems like I always wait until almost the end of the year to reflect in the digital age/world.

Lots of changes. The first being that my wife is pregnant with a baby girl. She is due at the end of April. Second, we are 65% of the way done with purchasing our very first home in the bay area. Third, I am no longer with Intelligentsia Coffee. I am the principal green buyer for Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco.

I never thought I would be a full time green buyer, just as I never thought I would like spreadsheets. Alas, I am and I do.

So this is what it feels like to be a grown man. To have responsibilities and to take a hold of them and get shit done and do it for the right reasons and to do them well. There is no more fucking around and half-assing ANYTHING. Shit just got real and I am grateful to be in the position to commit and follow through with all of this. I am not afraid of these changes, in fact, I am excited about them.

Many times, I felt like the job defined me as a person. Many times I felt that the more hours I spent away from my personal life and in my job the more satisfied I would feel career wise. In fact, the opposite is true. Work does not define me, and time away from my family only takes my ability to do good work away from the core of it all. The purpose is to be kind, do good things and do them for the right reasons. My purpose is to respect elders, other human beings, other creatures. To be kind and compassionate and to laugh as much as possible and to put competition aside because at the end of the day we are all the same anyway. Connecting is more meaningful than constantly battling folks to prove you are the best, smartest, brightest, dopest, coolest.

I certainly do not give a shit, except for the quality of your heart. This is all that matters, and all that folks will remember anyway. If they remember anything about you at all.

I don’t mean to sound negative, or to depress you. These are my personal feelings, philosophies, outlooks on things. We get caught up in meaningless things (myself included) and we forget that time is flying by and by the end of it, how much good have you actually done?

Every year I reflect on this. How many folks have I been an ear to? have I helped? have I loved unselfishly? How many regrets this year?

I would say my only regret is having spent so much time “at work” (mostly in my own brain, but still, working). 2013 is about really living, and showing my little daughter that you only get one shot at being this person in this life time so why not take advantage and do/make beautiful things?

Happy New Year, and may you be on your way to making beautiful things in 2013.


•July 8, 2012 • 1 Comment

It seems as though I write on this thing in spurts. 

I started buying coffee for Intelligentsia not too long ago. Pretty damn humbling experience. I was tasked with sourcing coffees from Mexico and this year I also joined a co-worker in Nicaragua. I have my own ambitions to find something nice in the Dominican Republic, but have yet to see a coffee sample break a solid 82/83 point threshold.

Enough about my job and coffee. That stuff is stressful, boring and seriously not something I want to be sharing in a public forum.

Lately I have been doing a lot of internal work as far as becoming more active in different ways. Running long distances has become somewhat difficult for me after my miniscus was shot post-marathon. Yes, it took me 5 hours to finish the NYC Marathon, and yes that makes me a slowpoke in some circles, but I finished. I never stopped moving even with my miniscus making me feel like my left leg would break off. I ended up walking a painful last 4 miles. Had I kept the pace I was at until mile 22 I would have made it in 4 hours or maybe even less. So now I am really into hiking, ad biking around town. I realized that when it comes to anything, I am not hyper competitive at all. I end up gravitating towards loner sports, such as running solo, climbing (my new love/obsession) and next weekend I am going to learn how to surf. 

I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself, and have little desire to come in first, be the best and fastest and baddest motherfucker out there. I just want peace, and happiness and love and openness in my life and most of the sports I seek have some sort of spiritual angle. At least it seems that way. I have heard that for many folks surfing is a spiritual thing to do to connect to nature, the same is said by many climbers. You see a rock/boulder/face of a mountain, and you climb it. You push YOURSELF to those places and see how far you can go without falling into the trap of “I can beat that other person”. 

I am more concerned with doing meaningful things, and things that help others in a positive way. Nature is something that will always outlive us, outsmart us, out think us, out last us. It demands our absolute respect. The older I get, the more I pull away from bullshit situations and the more I want to focus on doing GOOD things, not just things that advance me in some non-spiritual way. I am 34. There was a time in my life where I believed I wouldn’t make it past 24. And I have. Thankfully. We have such a short while on this planet. Make it count. 

Vacation Time

•September 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The wife and I are finally taking the realest vacation ever. The last time we did vacation was in Mexico, for a total of 5 days. We did do a mini 4 day vacation in Austin, Texas recently, which was awesome. Before that, we had our honeymoon 5 years ago in Portland, for another 5 days. We have never taken a full week off work (excluding weekend days) to do a vacation like this. We cannot wait. We are letting our hippie spirit out and going to Maui, Hawaii. I have never been to Hawaii, and besides my birthplace of Puerto Rico, I have never been on another tropical island. This should be interesting.
Thinking and reading about our current state of the economy I actually felt good about contributing to our national economy. I mean, yes, we could have vacationed somewhere in Latin America for much cheaper, but I really wanted to see Hawaii. Puerto Rico is a commonwealth, so neither a state, nor an independent entity and Hawaii is sort of what I see happening for Puerto Rico in the next decade or so. I don’t know if that is good or bad, but there is a weird connection to Hawaii for me because of this relationship. Anyway, yeah, I am stoked to put money into their economy, even if it’s through tourism. We are staying at some pretty damn lowkey places, and mostly doing a lot of cooking and hiking and snorkeling and hanging out at the local dive/surf/food shops.
I am afraid I won’t want to come back. I am afraid I may go back to work and try to convince folks to open up a roastery in Maui! Man, wouldn’t that be insane!? As a friend said though, if we want to truly preserve those beautiful islands, and that beautiful island culture we should really stay the fuck out of it as much as possible. As a born-islander, it will be hard to do that. But, I gotta do the right thing. We will see how it goes. I may even use my pro-Flickr account and post some photos.

setting out on a hike…and some other thoughts

•July 31, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I am going to more than likely stop writing about my thoughts on coffee in this personal blog webspace. I just don’t feel like sharing too much stuff about work anymore. At least not in this type of forum. Essentially, I just don’t think it matters much what I share and also, I am unwilling to be a dick about things in a public forum.
I am not a fan of seeing people call other folks out in what I feel is an unprofessional manner, or sharing an opinion in a way that helps no one.
But I guess there is the notion of, well don’t read it and this is a sensical argument. I guess mostly, this blog will more than likely turn into a place to write about random stuff and more than likely stuff that has nothing to do with coffee and I am ok with that.
This post is just a warning folks.
I am about to head out on a hike with a good friend, into the Berkeley hills. It’s grey out, so I will have to layer up. And I have some vegan edibles. Spirit quest on a Sunday might just take place.
There is a block party happening right on my block today. This sort of thing always brings out the anti-social anxious part of me. Trying to decide if I will participate or just lock myself up in my house and paint and read all about Hawaiian history.

oh hello again.

•June 11, 2011 • 1 Comment

Today I start a new leaf. Just having turned 33, the magical trinity, I think I will make some new waves in my life. As far as coffee goes, I have many thoughts on that as usual. But many more thoughts seem to be swimming around in the old nugget on shoulders. The more research I read, the more I share, the more I think we will never truly figure out the coffee thing, the roasting thing I mean.
Every single time we think we have it figured out, the damn coffee decides to do something “interesting” in the drum to either blow us away, or totally depress us. Oh coffee, must you be this way in order to make us more astute roasters? yes. I think so. And I think this is fine actually, because it only keeps me motivated to do better and better.
Off to a Giants game with some wonderful co-workers and a new friend!


•January 8, 2011 • 1 Comment

I guess the countdown to the end of the world starts now right? Those nutty Mayans. 2010 was a hell of a year. Much better than 2009 by far. This new year, for some strange reason I feel older than last (not for the OBVIOUS reason). Something is shifting. Maybe heading into my mid thirties is changing something. I am not sure. Work is busy as ever, but I am super lucky because I think I work for the best department i the whole company. Of course I also say this because I am biased and I love roasting coffee. Talking about roasting with other roasters, and tasting coffee is truly rewarding. I love that once we think we have figured something out, it goes the other direction and we have to start from scratch again. Coffee is a moving target, and never let anyone tell you they have it figured out because they totally don’t. It’s a lie.
The Mrs. and I are thinking of our vacation in May. I have never been to Europe before, and we have been saving for a couple of years to take this trip, possibly before we start thinking about a family. I am not super fond of thinking about traveling with a sniveling babe. No thanks.
I have lots on the brain, about all sorts of things. Maybe this is the getting older part. Deeper archives.