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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”