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.


•December 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

white trash repairs - Pot O Noodles
see more There I Fixed It

Veganism and barefoot running

•December 9, 2010 • 2 Comments

These are my current obsessions as of late. I am super busy with work, but this weekend I will be experimenting with barefoot running. Many people have many opinions, but I have never been happier about being vegan as I am these days. It has been the best choice I have made besides marrying my beautiful wife.
Tonight, roasted veggies and a tall glass of water and a good book before heading to bed to wake up at 4:30 AM and head to work.

I am still here, at least for now…

•August 11, 2010 • 1 Comment

It’s been a long time since I have written anything. I have been so very busy with work and life in general. Now that I am in California things feel right, as I have always considered the bay area my home. I love Oakland and San Francisco and I even love Sonoma County where I have been commuting to every single day 2-3 hours per day to get to Ecco in Santa Rosa.
My mother’s first death anniversary was spent on the Caribbean Sea funny enough, in Tulum Mexico while on my very first vacation ever with my wife. The last time we had a non-move related trip was our honeymoon in Portland. It was amazing. Almost ten years together and never an official vacation! We celebrated my mother’s life and her lessons and her smile on the beach with candles and lots of kind memories of her. It is so difficult to shake, but everyday it gets more manageable.
Work wise things have been hectic and insane and exciting. I feel the most challenged I have ever felt professionally. Intelligentsia has lofty expectations from baristas to directors of departments, so I knew I was in it for the long haul. But it is worth it to have co-workers that respect you and are always willing to push that envelope with you.
I applied and got the job of the very first National Roasting Department Manager for Intelligentsia and Ecco. This means that the roasters have an advocate and someone to be there to support them and lead them and guide them and fight alongside them to roast the best coffee on earth. We have an extremely talented pool of people, and i am just happy to share these moments with them and get better and better at what we do.
There should be no stone left unturned when it comes to roasting understanding, innovation and experimentation and this is hopefully the very beginning of that great path for us. This is certainly the most responsibility I have ever had, but truly and genuinely the most support I have ever received from an employer on all levels.
I feel really fortunate, and after almost 10 years in specialty coffee, I have a place to call home and have something to show for it. Intelligentsia is every bit as intimidating, as innovative, as forward thinking and as crazy filled with talent as you may think. It’s all true. I am not saying it’s perfect, but in it’s pursuit of perfection it is truly relentless and unafraid of carefully calculated risks. I have never felt so pushed to the seams and satisfied at the same time. Cheers to finally feeling like an adult at 32, and feeling like I have worked hard to achieve something I consider fantastic.
I wish my mom were here to see it.

be well.


•June 16, 2010 • 2 Comments


Originally uploaded by tonx


Thoughtful Rant

•February 26, 2010 • 5 Comments


I love restaurants. I love going out to dinner, even now, when I am vegan and thus the choices are narrowed. I still like the anticipation of service, menu and bar choices. I love scoping out the design, atmosphere and any attempted innovations. Old classics, tried and trues, completely fucking insane stabs at re-inventing the wheel in restaurants…I welcome it all.
I do however dislike the end of dinner, not all of it, just the SEVERE LACK OF GOOD COFFEE SERVICE.
I still don’t get it. Why would you go out on your menu, and ingredients all the way through dessert and then completely skimp on the coffee? Why? It makes absolutely no sense to me that you would buy the best ingredients to make up a great meal and then question someone on the PRICE of amazing coffee.
Whenever a specialty roaster approaches a restaurant they seriously are taken aback if the coffee costs anything over $6/lb wholesale. Really? With the markup you can have you are gonna freak about any price above that? You are gonna take the chance of masking a fantastic meal with shitty coffee because of price point?
I just don’t get it. Really, I don’t. If a chef is truly a thoughtful person, this thoughtfulness would go into the coffee as well. The vision of your place of business should be complete…from the napkins, to the toilet you buy, to card stock to the COFFEE. I am so tired of looking at the menu of 95% of restaurants and finding really crappy coffee being served/prepared poorly and without any sort of care. If you are a restaurant worth your salt, hire a bartender that can also take the time to care and understand coffee preparation. Everything that you do, or offer, you should master it and do it well, if not, you might as well not serve it at all.
To connect it to coffee, if you are not committed to tea at all…don’t serve it in your coffee bar. Why bother? But if you do want to offer tea, take the time to source a good tea wholesaler and take the time to learn how to serve/brew/present it well. It will make the vision of your place so much more clear. It also sends a message that you care about the entire experience.
So this is a note to restaurant owners/operators…please please please take coffee off the menu unless you care enough to do it correctly. If you want to take coffee on, do it right. Think about the quality and consistency of the coffee not the price. Think of the hard work going into bringing you the coffee, and think of the lasting impression on the meal.
ok, that’s enough for now.