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A conversation with DLG's roaster in the US

Recently, we had the opportunity to talk with Adam Shaw, roaster extraordinaire with Deeper Roots Coffee (DLG’s contract roaster in the US). We thought you might be interested in the creative mind behind the delicious coffee you drink on a regular basis.

DLG: Adam, thanks for agreeing to talk with us today. Now, we might be a bit biased, but we think that you deliver some really great tasting coffee for our customers. How long have you been in the coffee industry?

Adam: My first foray into coffee was retail when I was 19. I worked retail at a specialty coffee shop while in undergrad and stayed in retail for about 4 years. After undergrad I worked a career with my degree for a few years, but when I was able to leave and start Deeper Roots full time I jumped right into roasting and green (coffee) buying. I’ve been roasting full time now for about 3 years. 

DLG: Coffee seems to have some sort of lure for many people. What was it that attracted you to this crazy industry?

Adam: For me, at the time I wanted to do coffee full time, I saw it as a way to help foster social justice by way of creating economic opportunities. I didn’t want to necessarily write grants to try to get money to help people; I thought it felt more right for me to use good business to help underprivileged people. Plus I love coffee and all the crazy collaborative people along the way.

DLG: Now, we know why we love working for De la Gente, but what about you?

Adam: I like De La Gente for exactly what’s in the name. The coffee is from the people and De La Gente is able to show who those people are. I like that DLG isn’t based on handouts, but about creating economic opportunity to help people help themselves.

DLG: If you talk with pretty much anybody in the coffee industry, they’ll tell you that roasting is a craft. So much so that in many cases roasters protect their roasting profiles as intellectual property. They’d tell you that each coffee has a roast that brings out the best in that particular coffee. How do you go about the process of determining the best roast profile for each coffee?

Adam: I usually run each new coffee through a baseline profile and cup the coffee after that. When comparing those cupping results to the sample roast cupping results and to things we know about the coffee like varietal, altitude, etc. I adjust different parts of the profile to get what we think will help display the best parts of each coffee. Some coffees take longer than others to dial in and honestly the average consumer may not even perceive a lot of the changes, but we are constantly evaluating ways to make the coffees better.

DLG: There are so many different ways to make coffee these days – French Press, siphon, V60…How do you like to make your coffee?

Adam: My favorite method to drink coffee from is the Hario V60 but my favorite way to drink coffee is from any brew method with good people who are interested in learning more about whatever coffee we’re drinking.

DLG: Ha! Of course, coffee is what brings so many people together. We’re lucky to be in an industry where we can do what we love and make an impact on the lives of others.

A huge thanks to Adam for taking the time to talk with us today. We believe that sourcing great coffee isn't enough. While it helps the people we serve here in Guatemala, we also believe that you deserve to be drinking the best tasting coffee - which led us to Deeper Roots and Adam. It's a great partnership, not just in roasting to perfection, but having our goals aligned to generate economic opportunity for coffee farmers.

Adam has just finished sample roasting our new coffees from Huehuetenango and La Suiza and choosing the best profiles for them – both of which are now available in our online shop at www.dlgcoffee.org/shop. If you have any questions for us on our coffee or roasting, please give us a shout. You can reach us at info@dlgcoffee.org. Great Coffee. Changing Lives.