How Did You Get That Awesome Coffee Job?

Joseph Robertson - Coffee Lovers MagWho: Joseph Robertson

Where: Online Publisher, Coffee Lovers Magazine

You have an interesting coffee job! How long has Coffee Lovers Magazine been around?

I launched Coffee Lovers Magazine December 9th, 2012. Prior to that I was a coffee marketing consultant. I realized there’s a lot of people out there who are passionate about coffee, but who haven’t had the pleasure of diving deeply into the world of coffee.

Where does one find Coffee Lovers Magazine?

Coffee Lovers Magazine is currently digital, available on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch via iTunes. The magazine will soon be available on Android as well — Kindle is also on the horizon. One can simply go to http://www.coffeeloversmag.com/theMagazine

How often does the magazine come out?

Coffee Lovers Magazine is a monthly publication. I also tend to publish extra subscriber-only bonuses in between the primary publications. The digital magazine platform allows for a lot of flexibility and variety in what can be delivered. It’s really more than a traditional ‘magazine.’ We simply use that term because it is easy to relate with the idea of a ‘magazine.’  It is a periodical publication, but with interactive elements giving a much greater ability to connect people with ideas and other people.

How did you get so into coffee?

I remember getting into coffee through Starbucks, and at a certain point thinking to myself, ‘I should really check out these smaller cafes and see what this is all about.’ The only problem was I had no idea where to start. I think that it can be intimidating to approach an independent cafe when you honestly don’t know what you want (and this isn’t your fault). I would find myself going to a new cafe (and I still do this sometimes), approaching the counter and when the barista says, ‘what can I get you?’ my response would usually be ‘Uhhhhhhhh…uhhhhh…errr……..coffee?’

I think there’s a great desire for something more fulfilling than simply a sugary latte. I also know that the industry of coffee is so complex, with so many people who care so much about this thing that I think people deserve to understand the complexity of the experience that they are having.
Coffee Lovers Magazine
That’s also what it really comes down to — the experience of coffee. I had this realization shortly before creating the magazine: Coffee is not about coffee; it’s about the experience that you (the consumer) get with your coffee. It’s about taking that ‘coffee break’ with your co-workers, or meeting with friends, or stopping by for a morning cup. Coffee is a broad experience shared by people of many cultures around the world — there is great connection to be had in this simple drink. No matter what it may be, whether you prefer a latte loaded with milk and sugar, or if you prefer carefully prepared single origin espresso, I believe that our experience with coffee can only be made better by getting a deeper understanding of where the coffee comes from, and what it means to properly care for and handle this marvelous product.

I can have a drink and think, ‘hey, this roaster really loves what they are doing, they can be proud of this’ and I think that’s awesome. Just recently I visited Sterling Roasters in Portland; I had a cappuccino with their most recent espresso blend, and it tasted exactly like a hot cocoa (with nothing added!). That they can take these green coffee seeds, roast them, and prepare them in a way to basically give me a rich hot cocoa without dumping syrup and sugar into a drink — that is awesome. That is truly enjoying and understanding the full experience of coffee.

What’s your favorite coffee prep at home?

I have been preparing AeroPress for quite some time, but I’m actually drifting back to French press. If I had a proper espresso machine, I imagine I would enjoy espresso and occasionally a cappuccino. I typically just prefer to brew my coffee and enjoy it without adding anything.

What’s your favorite drink order when you visit cafes?

If it’s a new cafe I get either an espresso or cappuccino. I think the way a cafe prepares its espresso is really telling of the quality of that cafe. A place with passionate and engaged baristas who serve an obviously well prepared cup is a great place. There’s a tendency in Seattle to serve dark roasts. I would say Starbucks has created that consumer preference. If the coffee has been roasted too dark and burned, I’m going to taste it. Then I’ll know that I probably won’t enjoy the rest of their coffee menu.

For places that I frequent, it depends on my mood. If I’m planning to sit for long, I will order a brewed cup. At Milstead & Co., for example, I usually order an AeroPress. At Ballard Coffee Works, I like to get a siphon. Or, my decision will be based on which coffee sounds best (maybe the coffee on espresso sounds more appealing than the one on brew).

Are you or have you ever been a professional barista?

Nope!

In your opinion, what makes a good…Coffee…Cafe…Roaster…Barista?

To all of the above: Passion and love for what you do.

If you could teach people one thing about coffee, what would it be?

Coffee drinks with nothing added (sugar, flavor, etc.) can be the most amazing experiences in the world when prepared right — give yourself the opportunity to have your world changed. Try new things. Enjoy the experience of exploring coffee.

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