Our coverage of the Sprudge Twenty interviews presented by Pacific Barista Series continues this week on Sprudge. Read more about the Sprudge Twenty and see all of our interviews here.
Nominated by Diana Mnatsakanyan-Sapp
Sara Frinak is well-known to a generation of American coffee professionals as a tireless volunteer and supporter of coffee events, both regional in the American Southeast, and nationally through the Specialty Coffee Association’s USA competitions circuit. In addition, Frinak is an Accounts Manager with Ally Coffee, a green coffee trading company based in Greenville, SC. From the nominating essay by Sprudge Editorial Advisory Board member Diana Mnatsakanyan-Sapp:
Sara is someone who exemplifies kindness and support in the coffee industry. She never hesitates to help her coffee community, volunteering countless hours with the SCA and local organizations, spending her time and resources to empower young coffee professionals in the southeast and beyond. She is a community cheerleader, relentlessly positive and enthusiastic, treating the victories of others as her own.
What issue in coffee do you care about most?
If I had to pick one issue, it would be resource distribution, which isn’t even a coffee-specific issue, and is both delightfully large and daunting. I’ve noticed in my time there are rarely issues of true lack of information or lack of finances or lack of support, but instead clogs in the system that prevent these things from being shared with equity. So, I suppose I care most about finding and supporting ways for information to be distributed as respectfully and responsibly as possible. I’d like to see investing and sponsorship extended to underrepresented markets. I’d even settle for witnessing folks taking their free time and using it to support coworkers and community members. I suppose this isn’t a very neat or concise issue, but most conflicts I encounter could be avoided with better systems of sharing and of support.
What cause or element in coffee drives you?
I’m not sure if I have a larger cause that motivates me that I could articulate well, so I suppose I’d have to simply say it’s the people of this industry that drive me. It’s so cliche, isn’t it? It’s just I’ve found most of the people I enjoy in this industry are the people working too hard to ask for help or for recognition, and few things light a faster fire under you than that.
What issue in coffee do you think is critically overlooked?
Something overlooked or grossly misrepresented? The autonomy of the supply side of the supply chain. Producers and exporters and “at-origin operations” are businesses, and often businesses maintained by folks with plenty of experience and understanding. The philanthropic side of the industry is beautiful, but often distracts from the personhood of supply-side participants. There is an incredible amount of respect in treating representatives of these businesses as capable and informed, not as helpless, uneducated people. Often times the best way to ‘honor the producer’ is to commit to the prices they name, pay them on time, and roast their coffee well.
What is the quality you like best about coffee?
I love the connectivity of this industry. We can maintain active partnerships with people all the way across the world because of the nature of the supply chains with which we work. There’s so much to be gained from the type of exchange of information across consumer markets and producing markets.
Did you experience a “god shot” or life-changing moment of coffee revelation early in your career?
Is it bad to say no? I certainly had moments in which I was impressed by a coffee, or surprised by what I tasted, but never anything that could be categorized as a “god shot.” My life changing moment came as a volunteer at Expo, when I realized people thought less of me because I worked for an ambiguous specialty coffee shop in Alabama. We roasted the coffee dark and weren’t afraid to mix more than two flavors in a latte; we were from the South, and for some reason that meant we mattered less. The lack of compassion really stunned me. But I’ve always been told, if someone says they’re hungry, the best way to know they eat is to cook them something and feed them. For every dismissive person I met, there was someone being dismissed, so being an attentive presence became very important to me.
I don’t work in coffee because I tried an amazing coffee that changed my life. I work in coffee because enough people were mean to me about things that didn’t seem to matter all that much, and I decided that needed to change, even in a small way.
What is your idea of coffee happiness?
One shift way back when at my first coffee job immediately comes to mind. We had just successfully implemented a “Hawaiian shirt Friday discount” where folks could get $0.25 off their drink if they wore a Hawaiian shirt into the store. I had a regular sitting at the counter, drinking his coffee, and telling us about the time he hitchhiked from South Florida to Alabama. I was dialing in the espresso for the day, and we had found the perfect Pandora station to play for our shift (I don’t even remember the station). It was a perfect combination of being with good people, drinking and thinking about coffee, and having a good time. It’s not a concise idea, but it’s what I think of.
If you could have any job in the coffee industry, what would it be and why?
As predictable as it sounds, I already have the only job I’ve ever wanted in this industry. I’ve always wanted to work with green coffee and supply-side logistics. Coming from a background of small, independent businesses means I am very aware of the things we could never afford. Now I get to help businesses access great coffees, sustainable partnerships, and whatever information they need—no matter the budget, no matter the business size. I don’t know if I’d do anything else in this industry besides what I do now.
Who are your coffee heroes?
Can I list them? I’m going to list them:
– Carllee Curran: because I have never witnessed someone maintain such fierce compassion, empathy, and fairness than her, especially in the face of the nightmare of coffee competitions in the US. She works so hard, and maintains such patience. She represents the type of character I want to have as a member of this industry: forward thinking, practical, fair, and compassionate.
– Sarah Barnett Gill: There are few people I respect more than this woman. She not only put up with me when I was an irritating little shithead, but also empowered me to learn about the industry and develop skill sets. She taught me how to roast coffee and taught me how to manage a cafe. She built a business out of thin air and entrusted me with a piece of it. Sarah is the leader I aspire to be, and our industry could learn so much from how she serves her staff and her customers.
– Ildi Revi: I feel like I only have to say her name and everyone will just sigh and say “oh yes, well of course.” Ildi is perseverance and endurance. No one supports people the way she does. She is one of the smartest people you’ll ever meet, and she uses that intelligence to empower other people to have a better understanding of their role in our industry. We owe so much to the hard work she’s put in.
If you could drink coffee with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I know I’m supposed to name someone famous to impress people, but I really would only want to sit down and have a coffee with my friends Harry, Joey, and Trevi. We all used to work together in Alabama and have moved away from each other, but talk on the phone all the time. If I could pick anyone to share that kind of a moment with, it’d definitely be them.
If you didn’t get bit by the coffee bug, what do you think you’d be doing instead?
There was a time in my life where I thought I’d be a professional swimmer, so maybe that. If I ever leave coffee it’d be to work for or run an urban farm, because people have to eat and they should eat good food.
Do you have any coffee mentors?
They’re my coffee heroes (listed above). I might argue with them, but I’d do just about anything they told me to do
What do you wish someone would’ve told you when you were first starting out in coffee?
Success is not one-size-fits-all. Hospitality is more about meeting people where they’re at than it is about serving espressos with sparkling water on the side. You should fight for equity and not equality, even if one is harder to defend than the other.
Name three coffee apparatuses you’d take into space with you.
I would honestly probably just bring an auto-drip machine, a cup, and pre-ground coffee. I’d be in space! I’d probably be too busy eating astronaut ice cream to make a pour-over.
Best song to brew coffee to:
“Africa” by Toto or “Tu Amor Hace Bien” by Marc Anthony. I don’t make the rules, that’s just what I’d choose.
Look into the crystal ball—where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Hopefully outside in the sunshine.
What’d you eat for breakfast this morning?
When did you last drink coffee?
What was it?
House coffee at Waffle House.
Zachary Carlsen is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge.
Finding good coffee in American airports is becoming easier and easier these days. There’s a Cartel Coffee Lab in the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport serving some seriously good coffee, the Stumptown in the Portland International Airport is hands down the most beautiful airport cafe I’ve ever seen, and even though they are serving more of their “crowd pleaser” coffees, the La Colombe offerings at the Philadelphia International Airport are far superior to what you’d expect to find in an airport coffee urn otherwise.
But what about we kind souls who pick up our weary sojourners friends from the airport? What do we get while wait on your now twice-delayed touch down? Sure, a warm hug from a dear friend is nice, but that won’t keep me warm in the middle of the night. We want coffee. So it’s good news for those currently circling the Austin Bergstrom International Airport, there’s an Austin Java that just opened in the cell phone lot.
Austin Java is a bit of an institution. Back before the specialty coffee boom that has turned ATX into a must-visit coffee city, Austin Java was one of the best cups in town (and Metro. RIP). I myself have spent more than my fair share of time at the AuJa—a thing I used to call it and I don’t really remember why—cramming for finals or fueling up for a trip to Barton Springs. And now they are bringing their brand of fast casual coffee to the Austin cellphone lot, which means maybe I’ll start using it instead of aimlessly circling and parking curbside before being told to move and circle again.
Per Austin Food Magazine, this newest Austin Java—the sixth location for the nearly 25-year-old business—will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a “concentration on accessibility;” “guests have a plethora of ways to place on the go orders including a drive thru, online, inside the cafe as well as an outdoor window for grab and go.” Think things like breakfast bowls and because this is Texas, migas bowls and breakfast tacos. Austin Java will also be offering beer, wine, and cocktails for those especially aggrieved flight picker uppers.
I gotta say, coffee and waiting for someone’s flight to land has to be the least exciting iteration of the “Coffee And…” cafe model, but it may also be the most crucial. Just imagine: you’ve just stepped off your flight to Austin, you’re tired, you’re hungry, you just want to be done with the day. Then your friend shows up with a hot cup of coffee and a few breakfast tacos with your name on them. That sets the new standard as the only way I want to be picked up from the airport. And really, it’s the only way I would want to pick someone up too. Just have your passenger Square you for the damage, because they definitely should be paying.
Top image via PE.com
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Too much coffee could precede the same punchline as leftover wine: Who’s ever heard of such a thing? But even as a person who chemically requires the stuff, I admit there is a line. Cross it, and you feel the headache-y, jangly-brain, sour stomach high that only abates with time and lots of water. And too much coffee consumption over a period of time can increase a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease, new research published in The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition finds. In that study, scientists pinpoint the precise level at which caffeine becomes detrimental rather than helpful to one’s health: Six cups per day.
Compared to non-coffee drinkers and those who drink decaffeinated tea, drinkers of moderate amounts of coffee had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. But once coffee consumption topped six cups per day, the risk of cardiovascular disease increased 22%. Researchers drew data from a database of 347,077 individuals in the UK Biobank, an open-access database containing genetic, physical and health data from hundreds of thousands of people between 2006 and 2010. Presumably, coffee consumption was self-reported, in which case six cups is quite a bit; most people don’t realize their 16-ounce mugs constitute way more than a cup of coffee. A recent German study set the ideal coffee consumption level at four cups daily.
As someone who used to bump up against that six-cup threshold, I made a conscious effort to wean my consumption down in recent years. Mostly, I found that if I brewed better coffee and savored it just a bit more in the mornings, I didn’t need to drink the equivalent of two Big Gulps of it. The first cup wakes me up, the second cup gets me through the morning rush, and some days, I can even forgo the third cup. This means I’m going to live forever, right?
A coffee shop in San Francisco just got 10 pounds of the most-delicious and rare coffee in the world. It’s $75 a cup. Buzz60
If you thought your $5 morning latte was expensive, think again.
Southern California-based Klatch Coffee Roasters has been selling a $75 cup of coffee, and all sold out.
The company offered a tasting experience at its San Francisco location on May 11 and gave people the option to have some of the coffee shipped to them. According to Klatch’s website, the beans are all sold out.
Why is it so expensive?
The coffee shop is roasting the Elida Geisha 803 coffee beans from Panama. They were sold at $803 per pound, the highest price paid for the beans at the Best of Panama green auction. The auction is referred to as the “Oscars for coffee.“
Only 100 pounds of the beans were available for purchase, and Klatch snatched up 10 of them, becoming the only coffee shop in the United States to have it. The beans were divided among their several Southern California locations and one shop in San Francisco.
According to ABC7 News, a local Bay Area news station, , the 10 pounds of beans comes out to about 80 cups of the Elida Geisha coffee.
“It’s a unique coffee that comes from Panama. It’s by far better than any of the coffee you hear about that comes from animals,” Bo Thiara, co-owner of the Bay Area Klatch, told ABC 7.
The Elida Geisha 803 is a type of Kopi Luwak coffee which is made from partially digested coffee beans. The beans are eaten by civets, a cat-like animal, and then pooped out.
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2019/05/14/most-expensive-coffee-offered-75-cup-and-sells-out/3664687002/