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I recently sat down for a (wait for it…) coffee with Connie Blumhardt, founder and publisher of Roast Magazine, headquartered in Portland, Oregon and serving as a “technical” trade journal for the specialty coffee industry. More on “technical” later.
Connie let me decide where we would meet, and I happily chose Coava Coffee Roasters on SE Grand Ave. It has sentimental value to me as one of the first roasters I visited in Portland before I even moved here.
With over 15 years of background in magazine publishing, and the last ten of that in the coffee industry, Connie is a familiar face in the specialty coffee industry, and certainly in a Portland roastery. We had a great conversation covering different aspects of the coffee business, and particularly the opportunities to raise awareness of quality among coffee drinkers. I asked my most burning question first: “How does Connie make good coffee at home?”
Connie was sure to preface her answer by letting me know that she is not a coffee snob. I’m learning how relative a term that is, because I call myself a coffee snob, and Connie is a coffee black belt compared to me. Connie uses a Technivorm coffee maker, favors coffees from African regions, and gets her beans from Batdorf Coffee out of Olympia, WA.
Ten years ago, the specialty coffee industry and its roasters were missing a technical trade journal. Roast Magazine was founded with focus on all technical aspects of making the highest quality of coffee, from growing coffee to proper roasting to brewing, even to serving it. If you buy your coffee from a local roaster, there is a good chance that they subscribe to Roast, and that means benefit from the knowledge that Roast provides. Behind the scenes, this magazine is improving all of our coffee by facilitating the exchange of information in the industry.
In fact, almost two thirds of roasters surveyed ranked it the industry’s most useful periodical, a full double the responses as the industry’s next most useful.
“Roast Magazine allows all of us roasters to share the outcomes and learn from each other as well as point-reference each other, which to me is amazing.” – Trainer, multi-store independent, West
I’ve been a subscriber for two years. I was introduced to Roast when I saw a copy in London, Canada’s Fire Roasted Coffee Company. Owner Dave Cook recommended it as reading not just for the industry professional, but for anybody interested in learning more about coffee. I recommend the same. While I am not a coffee roaster, there are several articles in each issue that are interested and enlightening to me as a coffee drinker. You can learn more by visiting Roast Magazine’s website.
Stay tuned! Connie and I discussed a number of coffee-related topics that I look forward to sharing in the days to come.
And the next time I’ll see Connie? This weekend at the Seattle Coffee Fest! An industry gathering where Roast Magazine will most certainly have a presence.