MCP #017: Jen Apodaca


NAME: Jen Apodaca


MACHINES: Probat L5, P5, P25, GG70, Gothot 23k, 99k, Diedrich, IR5, IR12, IR 1, Loring 15k, 35k, 70k, Ikawa, Probat Elctric BRZ 1, Gas BRZ2 Probatino 1k, Jabez Burs 4&5 barrel, Proaster 2B, USCRC1k

COMPANY: Royal Coffee Inc.

When we interview people, we try to think about the things that stick—the things you don’t forget and stay with you. Jen said this one thing; about one of her heroes that we can’t get out of our head because it feels like it describes Jen herself:  

“Her actions were unlimited.”

We’re honored Jen Apodaca is Matchbook’s featured roaster for the month of July. It’s almost ineffable to describe the feeling we all shared when we found out that she agreed to be part of our little project. During a recent meeting, Izzy, our resident logistics pro and the person responsible for getting you coffee every month said, “Jen is my hero.”

Jen’s release will be like nothing we’ve ever featured before. Instead of one coffee, you’ll be getting three, in a release she’s calling Mugshots. Each of the three coffees you’ll receive will have original artwork, by Jen, of three different women that Jen has described as meaningful to her. “These folks are my patriots,” and in describing these people, we feel like you’ll get to know Jen better.

EMMA GOLDMAN – “the high priestess of anarchy”

Emma Goldman was an anarchist thinker and writer born in what is now known as Lithuania and came to the United States when she was in her teens. When Jen says, “her actions were unlimited,” this is who she was talking about because Emma was unafraid to take issues head on. “Everything she did went against the grain.”

Emma Goldman was detained for the assassination of President William McKinley, because his actual murderer, Leon Czolgosz, told authorities he was inspired to commit the crime after attending one of Emma’s speeches. Although she had nothing to do with his death, Emma refused to condemn the actions of McKinley’s murderer, which earned her the ire of not just the media, but of many of her colleagues.

Emma was an orator, a writer, and published a magazine called Mother Earth, which published articles about social sciences and ideas like the labor movement and women’s suffrage. She was an early proponent of birth control, joining Margaret Sanger in educating women about contraception and ending up in jail for violating the Comstock Law, which were essentially decency laws aimed at preventing discussion of dissemination of information that lawmakers found ‘obscene.’

Emma Goldman was routinely imprisoned, and President Woodrow Wilson called her one of the most dangerous anarchists in the world. In 1919, Emma’s American citizenship was revoked, and she and her lover , Alexander Berkman, were deported. Emma continued to write and share her beliefs abroad; even as she watched her friends die for holding similar views. She steadfastly believed in the rights of the working class, distrust of capitalism and the government, women’s autonomy, and sexual freedom.

“To the daring belongs the future.” – Emma Goldman

LUCY PARSONS – “More dangerous than a thousand rioters.”

Lucy Parsons famously told different stories about her early life, but we do know that she married a former Confederate soldier in Texas and the young couple fled because of intolerant views of interracial marriage. Both she and her husband were noted activists in Chicago, where they settled, and fought for the rights of laborers, the homeless, and women. Her husband, while working to cap the workday at eight hours, was implicated in the Haymarket Riots in 1886, and hanged for his so-called involvement. Lucy, who was just as radical if not more radical at the time, was barely noticed by authorities.  

She helped found the Industrial Workers of the World, and believed in radical change and action in order to overthrow the existing order. She was often alienated from other female thinkers of her time, many of whom were concerned with women’s suffrage because she didn’t believe in fighting for the right to vote—her visions went far beyond current structures of governance and she fought for the rights and dignity of the working class.

Famously, Lucy and Emma, although both publicly regarded as radical anarchists, weren’t the biggest fans of each other. Lucy felt that Emma lumping together ideas of economic freedom for the working class and sexual revolution would make light of the former, which she treated as decisively more serious than the frivolous ideas of sexual liberation.

Lucy Parsons died in a fire in her home in Chicago in 1942, and immediately following the fire the police took her writings and documents from her home. It’s theorized that one of the reasons not much is known about Lucy is because of this—the police made a conscious effort to suppress her memory by seizing her life’s work. However, she is still commemorated throughout Chicago and the world, with statues, parks, and bookstores named in her honor.

LOZEN – “A shield to her people”

Lozen was an Apache Native American, belonging to a small subset called Chiricahua who lived primarily in what is now known as Arizona and New Mexico. Her brother, Victorio, was a well-known chief, but it was said that he trusted her in all matters of military force and yielded to her in decision-making situations. She fought alongside her brother and other members of her tribe as they were forced into reservations by the American government.

Resisting the conditions they were subject to in the reservation, Victorio and other members of the tribe left the reservation and spent years evading American troops, with Lozen at her brother’s side. To escape, members had to cross the Rio Grande, and Lozen’s example inspired women and children of the tribe to follow in her footsteps. She was also known to provide aid to new mothers and find safe places for them to tend to their children and avoid conflict.

Never one for traditional gender roles, Lozen was said to be as apt and capable as any man in combat, and is rumored to have been the mastermind behind many of the strategies and ideas that Victorio would employ in evading capture. She rode (and was known for stealing) horses, was a precision shooter, and was said to be able to predict where enemies would move next.

Lozen’s brother died in battle, so she then formed an allegiance with Geronimo, another Apache leader. However, his tribe, including Lozen, was captured and he surrendered. She was sent to Florida and, not used to the climate of her new surroundings, died within a few years.


Take from these stories what you will, but it’s impossible for us to not see flickers of Jen in all of these women. Jen is a leader (she is the Director of Roasting for Royal Coffee in Oakland, Calif., and is one of the founders of #shestheroaster, a community group aimed at recognizing and providing opportunity to marginalized and overlooked roasters), steps up when work needs to be done, listen to the concerns of others, and isn’t afraid to go against the tide. Part of that is in her blood—she comes from a family of laborers and union members—and part of that is inspiration. We hope you’re inspired by the coffees Jen has roasted for you, the women she’s chosen to highlight, and by Jen herself.