MCP:#024 JULIET HAN
NAME: Juliet Han
YEARS ROASTING: 9 Years
COMPANY: Blue Bottle Coffee, Oakland, CA
It wasn’t until we talked to Juliet Han, our featured roaster for the month of February, that we saw just how amazing it is that roasters even agree to do this, let alone share beautiful, intensely personal stories with all the folks at home drinking their coffees. Really, we’re asking people to share a part of themselves, and that can be really daunting. “First impressions of me can be awkward, and to be honest, I almost said no to this project because it would mean attention on myself and I kind of suck at that.”
MCP #023: Sam Neely
NAME: Sam Neely
YEARS ROASTING: 2 ½ Years
COMPANY: Switchback Coffee Roasters, Colorado Springs, CO
Have you ever done a crossword that, when all the words come together, they reveal a theme? If you put all the words together here—decisive, passionate, intrepid, and just—we hope it spells out a coffee that is both uniquely delicious, special, and completely accessible. All those things describe Sam as well (delicious…maybe? Sam does admit they’re very into food and wine so they’ll probably taste like the last delicious thing they ate). Every time we present you with a coffee, we want the coffee to sing both of the work of the producer and the work of the roaster. With Sam’s coffee, we hope you can taste each individual component—the decisiveness, the passion, the intrepidness, and the justness—and you can feel connected to them and their story.
MCP#022 KIANA CRUZ
NAME: Kiana Cruz
YEARS ROASTING: 2 Years
COMPANY: CoRo Coffee Room, Berkeley, CA
After leaving school and working a few coffee jobs, Kiana landed at Paramo Coffee in San Francisco, where she met one of her mentors, Gabe Boscana (who was our featured roaster in October). After she was offered a managerial role, Kiana says that Gabe was one of the first people to see past her insecurities and into her potential. “At that moment in my life I felt like I couldn’t do this…I felt like I didn’t know enough and questioning myself,” she says. “Gabe acknowledged my struggle—it was the first time I ever reached out to someone and he gave me the time of day and advised me through the process as I tried to break down the barriers of thinking I wasn’t good enough.” She then stops, and thinks for a moment. “It’s probably the single biggest act of kindness that’s kept me in the industry.”
MCP#021 SARA GIBSON
NAME: Sara Gibson
YEARS ROASTING: 2 Years
COMPANY: Greater Goods Coffee Roasters, Austin TX
Sometimes, legends are legends for a reason.
A few years ago, you wouldn’t have found Sara Gibson behind a roaster. You would have found her, instead, on the roller rink, leading The Oakland Outlaws, a roller derby team, to victory. Now, she’s roasting for Greater Goods Coffee in Austin, Texas, and is our featured roaster for the month of November.
MCP#020: GABE BOSCANA
NAME: Gabe Boscana
YEARS ROASTING: 12+ Years
RELEASE: The Other Side
We ask a lot of our Matchbook roasters. We pretty much expect them to put their ideas, visions, theories about coffee, hopes, aspirations, dreams, mistakes, triumphs, hobbies, loves into a small box to be shipped out to you—and you’re expected to have a transformative coffee experience that captures the essence of our featured roaster.
That pressure is not lost on Gabe Boscana, owner of Máquina Coffee Roasters our October featured roaster. What gets Gabe, though, is the ephemeral nature of this project. “This is a special thing. It’s not going to happen again,” he shares.
MCP#019: Cara Zebrowski
NAME: Cara Zebrowski
YEARS ROASTING: 8 Years roasting
MACHINES: Diedrich IR-1, Diedrich IR-12, Probatone 5
COMPANY: The Pantry, Cold Spring, NY
Cara is drawn to roasting probably for the same reason a lot of people like making coffee: she wants to give people something tasty and enjoyable. “I guess I really want people to feel good when they drink coffee I've prepared,” she shares. “It's silly, and too simple a thing, but I really want someone to feel better. Everything else may be falling apart and on fire around them, but this, this one thing, this is something I can do for them to make the world suck a little less.”
MCP#018: Izi Aspera
NAME: Izi Aspera
COMPANY: Wrecking Ball, San Francisco, CA
It’s difficult to write a story about Izi Aspera. Writing a story about someone usually implies that there’s a beginning and an end; writing stories specifically about Matchbook roasters sometimes ends as a summation of all the moments, eccentricities, and happenstance events that got them to this very moment and how all that experience has shaped the way they view coffee. They tell us about how they view coffee, and somewhere in their personality quirks and life experiences, we sort of get an idea of how they roast and perhaps a sneak peek into how they approach each and every coffee.
MCP #017: Jen Apodaca
NAME: Jen Apodaca
COMPANY: Royal Coffee Importers
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.