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Varieties of varieties and mistaken identities

This piece is inspired by curiosities surrounding Aviary’s release 006: Jhon Didier Trujillo, which is available in limited quantities through the Aviary website. To support this blog and the work I do—and to place this piece in context of the coffee that inspired it—please consider ordering. Things aren’t always what they appear to be: a […]

Cupping is a game of chance

(AUTHOR’S NOTE, 15 JUN 2024): After speaking with Scott and Gildardo following the publication of this piece, I want to offer clarification, confirmation and correction that Gildardo did in fact initiate the conversation and sending of the lot at no cost to Prodigal, and that Prodigal had no intention of leaving Gildardo without payment. Bearing […]

The hegemony of poured concrete and “washed Ethiopians”

Meeting with smallholders in Bensa, Sidama, Ethiopia in February 2019. Pictured, you’ll find many producers whose names you might now recognize: Nguisse Nare, Bekele Kechara, Bekele Belaychow and Basha Bekele. This piece is inspired by curiosities surrounding Aviary’s release 005: Bekele Belaychow as well as upcoming, to-be-announced release AVIARY#007. AVIARY#005 is available for pre-order through […]

The Cost of Quality

This piece is inspired by curiosities surrounding Aviary’s release 004: Lino Rodriguez as well as upcoming releases 005 and 006. AVIARY#004: Lino Rodriguez, featured in the April 2024 edition of Food & Wine Magazine, is available for pre-order through the Aviary website. To place this piece in context of the coffees that inspired it or […]

Calibration, Quality and the Myth of Infallibility

Day 1 of the Copa de Oro competition in Huila, Colombia in November 2023 hosted by Osito Coffee This piece is inspired by curiosities surrounding the process of sourcing Aviary’s release 003: Gildardo Lopez, as well as my history buying from the Cup of Excellence-winning producer of 004: Lino Rodriguez. Both of these coffees will […]

Now roasting: Aviary

A brief personal note: After a few restless months, my roasting project, Aviary, is live. I funded Aviary using a crowdfunding mechanism and without any outside investment (save an equipment loan through the Small Business Administration) with the intention of keeping the company unencumbered from financial influence or expectations of a return on investment. I […]

Roest: Best Practices

In the months since I published my post on sample roasters, I’ve heard from countless Roest users who shared my experience—and perhaps a few frustrations—and who hoped I’d be willing to shed a little more insight into best practices for getting optimal results from the roaster. Every coffee that comes through my lab is roasted […]

Sampling Sample Roasters

I hope that by providing a nuanced look at each of the four roasters on my bench—an Ikawa Pro, Kaffelogic Nano 7, Arc S, and Roest L100 Plus—you’ll have sufficient context and insight about each of these roasters and how I approach them to guide your own selection toward a machine that best suits your needs.

Aviary: A roastery for the 21st century

Since leaving Phoenix in August (after leading the company through a rebranding, a renaissance in quality, the pandemic, a retail expansion and restructuring into a worker-owned cooperative), I’ve thought a lot about what I might do differently if I were ever to start my own roastery. Over my 13 years as a roaster, coffee buyer […]

March Forward, Dear Mother Ethiopia

My head hurts, my legs ache, I’m thirsty. For everything else it is, Ethiopia isn’t an easy place to travel—not how we do it, anyway. We drive into Jimma, five of us packed into a Land Cruiser, a vehicle that is as much a symbol of success as a way of saying, “I need no […]

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