Countdown to National Coffee Day : Roasting w/ Thomas
As we gear up for National Coffee Day at Trifecta, we want to make sure we celebrate more than pristine latte art and perfect pour overs. This is a chance to celebrate coffee as a whole, from the farms across the world to the baristas crafting each drink to the cup of coffee in your hand.
Last week we kicked things off by sharing our stories of when we fell in love with coffee. This week, we’re looking at the backbone of everything we do here at Trifecta—roasting. In the coming weeks we’ll look at how the farmers across the world make what we do possible as well as our work with The Coffee Trust to create sustainable change in coffee growing communities.
Typically, the first thing people notice when they walk into Trifecta is the warmth and aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans permeating the shop. Rightly so, it’s the heart of what we do. Which is why it’s somewhat surprising that Thomas Isole, co-owner of Trifecta, didn’t set out to roast coffee.
“Originally I wanted to own and operate a coffee shop,” Thomas said.
In February of 2007, Thomas’s cousin Neil took him on a two day tour of the Seattle coffee scene. Their first stop was the Caffe Umbria roastery.
“They were the same folks who founded Torrefazione Italia,” Tomas said. “After seeing their amazing roastery and tasting their espresso I knew on the spot that I would need to roast my own coffee. I needed to get involved in selecting the green coffee and how I would roast it. I even profiled my espresso from memory to be similar to Caffe Umbria. In a way Umbria has been my silent mentor for years, unbeknownst to them.”
A few months after visiting Caffe Umbria, Thomas started roasting coffee in his garage. Eventually he moved to Fat Boy Cafe in Cedar Crest, where he roasted from 2008 to 2012. He then roasted in Tijeras until forming Trifecta in 2015. Those years spent perfecting the craft of roasting, first in a garage and then in the east mountains, are what shine through in each pound of coffee, each shot of espresso, and each cup of freshly brewed coffee.
Just as roasting grew out of Thomas’s desire to own a coffee shop, his partnership with The Coffee Trust and advocacy for coffee farmers was a natural extension of the work he did in order to roast beans.
“When you have to move 135-152 pound bags of coffee you have to imagine what is happening back at the farm,” Thomas said. “When a fresh crop comes in you can literally smell the green off the unroasted beans. Everything has a story, the jute bags they use and the various logos and symbols on the bags all become part of the connection.
“All of it it makes you ask more questions. I talk to my primary coffee broker weekly about coffees available and continually the farmer is the center point of these conversations. Once I started to work with The Coffee Trust, it only heightened my interest and concerns specific to the farmer. The coffee in a way has become a secondary conversation.”
For Thomas, it’s not simply about getting the best coffee. It’s about getting the best coffee in the right way.
“In the last year, I have worked hard to bring good coffees to the shop, but more importantly I’ve strived to ensure that the price the farmer receives is well above the fair trade floor price,” Thomas said. “This year the C Future for coffee is way too low, as we search for quality coffee we also have forged strong transparent partnerships with coffee brokers who care about the farmers as well.
“Every time I get a new origin or different co-operative or farm in is always exciting. Our staff is always right there ready to profile and describe the new coffees and our customers are always enjoying the journey. We see a lot of smiles at Trifecta, and it is infectious.”
National Coffee Day
September 29, 2019
Come Join Us!