MCP #003: Sandra Elisa Loofbourow

ROASTER NAME: Sandra Elisa Loofbourow

YEARS ROASTING: 3 years

COMPANY: Andytown, San Francisco, CA

RELEASE: Java Mountain Women's Cooperative

A few days before we announced Sandra as our next roaster at Matchbook, Sandra was featured in an article on the Barista Magazine website, written by one of our team members. Shortly after the article was released, we received this email:

“I am Sandi’s Mom and I am writing to congratulate you for capturing the essence of her soul, her enthusiasm, her love of life, and her spirit. You made me cry…if you are ever in Sacramento please come and visit.”

We’ve been stuck on the idea of ‘capturing’ the essence of Sandra—or Sandi as she’s known by her mom—because there doesn’t seem to be a way to capture her. Not fully. Not through one medium. When we asked Sandra to describe herself, she pointed to different music videos and songs, like this one she describes as ‘herself as a kid,’ or this one she points to illustrating her love of tango, which she’s been dancing since she was 14.

Tango dancing led her to coffee in a few ways. Bouncing around jobs in San Francisco, Sandra—or Sandrita as she’s referred to in her tango circle—dove into the world of specialty coffee after a training at Sightglass. “I went to their roasting in SoMa for my first ever specialty coffee training, and lo and behold, the tatted up guy training me had a tattoo of a bandoneon (the instrument used in tango) right on his neck. I took it as a sign and dived right in.”

After a few stints at different cafes, Sandra started working at Blue Bottle—again because of tango. “A tango friend recommended me for a job at the Blue Bottle Ferry Building location. She said that she knew I could keep up after watching how quick my feet were on the dance floor,” she shares. She eventually found herself at Andytown after a visit to a friend’s new café led to a job on the floor. “I had worked with Lauren at the Ferry Building and went to their opening day. They had opened the shop with the intention of running it themselves, just the two of them. There was a line down the block on the first day. I was ready to move on to something new, so I started pulling shifts there and about two weeks after opening they hired me on. I told them that I wanted to learn to roast and eventually become a green buyer, and they were incredibly supportive and helpful.”

Sandra transcends one form of expression, and yet her worlds seem to collide continuously. As the head roaster for Andytown in San Francisco, her pathway to coffee comes from her passion for tango, and as she relays the story of her coffee career, we often take stops and starts, taking a moment to watch a video or recognize the crazy coincidence that’s led her to this moment. Most people travel down a linear road, but Sandra is led by the twists and turns, fast movements and sudden stops, that seem to be mirrored in her tango dancing.

Because we couldn’t resist sharing as much of Sandra as possible, and because we feel just describing her through words isn’t quite enough, we’ve decided to create a series of playlists, all curated by Sandra, describing herself and her love of tango. In our first email to her, she sent us over a dozen links to videos and songs that she felt described her, and we’d like to share with you some of those songs, organized by mood/feeling/task.

And Sandi's mom: we'd love to take you up on the offer. :)

Songs Everyone Should Listen To:

Antipatriarca-- Ana Tijoux

Latinoamerica -- Calle 13

Balas y Chocolate -- Lila Downs

Soy Yo -- Bomba Estereo

Matador -- Los Fabulosos Cadillacs

La Maza -- Shakira & Mercedes Sosa

Malemolência -- Ceu

Tous les Mêmes -- Stromae

Kofi Anan -- Yemi Alade

Adentro -- Calle 13

Dançando no Escuro -- Curumin

Tango Playlist For the Uninitiated:

Volver-- Carlos Gardel

Se Dice de Mi-- Tita Merello

La vida es una milonga - Pedro Laurenz

El Anden - Bajofondo & Mala Rodriguez

Milonga sentimental - Otros Aires

Negra Maria -- Libertad Lamarque

Quiero verte una vez mas -- Francisco Lomuto

Paciencia -- Juan D'Arienzo

La Cumparsita -- Carlos Gardel

South American Folklore for a Night Out:

Chacarera de las Piedras -- Hugo Torres

Gracias a la vida -- Violeta Parra

Camino del Indio -- Atahualpa Yupanqui

Ni chicha ni limona -- Victor Jara

El Olvidao -- Nestor Garnica

Que bonita va -- Los Huasos Quincheros

El condor pasa -- Inti Illimani

Rin del angelito -- Inti Illiman