One thing I’ve noticed is there is no shortage of coffee roasters and shops in the state of California – Los Angeles to be specific. Sean Reilly of Moustache Coffee Club knows this to be true as well.
If you aren’t familiar with Moustache Coffee Club, you probably should be. MCC was founded after Sean spent a morning going from coffee shop to coffee shop in L.A. in search of a bag of good beans that were roasted in the last week. This is what he had to say to us:
“One of the main reasons I founded the company was because I couldn’t find fresh coffee(i.e. roasted in the past 10 days) at 4 different coffee shops in Downtown Los Angeles one morning. And, while I don’t mind paying $20 for a premium bag of beans, paying $20 for a stale bag of premium beans annoys the hell out of me.”
Most roasters I find these days are moving toward a subscription service. It’s quite nice, actually. You pay a price, and coffee arrives at your door. Simple. Now for me, I like control over what coffee I chose, but there is also a part of me that wants to explore, and sometimes it is easier for someone else to make suggestions for me.
Unlike direct subscription services with the roaster, Moustache Coffee Club is a third party.
“We cup and test a lot of different coffees from a variety of roasters in the LA area and find ones we like ahead of time and then we place an order with the roaster at the beginning of the week and ship it out the same day it finishes roasting so it gets to you as fast and as fresh as possible.
We focus on amazing coffee, minimal roasting (so as not to impair the flavor) and delivery speed so it gets to you at just the right time for you to start drinking it.”
This statement from MCC came as a surprise to me, even moreso when my trial bag arrived at my door. Wow, 3 days from roast to my coffee counter. There are some other third party subscription services that offer a nice selection of coffees from abroad, but that seems to come at a cost of missing the coffee’s peak brew window.
Another thing I liked about MCC was the fact that I could receive a smaller amount of coffee than most other subscription services. Right now I am in for a 6oz bag every two weeks. While that’s still 12oz of coffee a month, it isn’t 12oz of coffee slowly escaping from a bag for the duration of the entire month.
The bag I received was a naturally processed Ethiopian Kochere from the Zonegediyo, Yirgacheffe region, roasted by Portola Coffee Lab. The cool thing I noticed, but unfortunately missed out on, was that the previous coffee sent out in the club was the exact same coffee beans from the exact same lot, yet they had been fully washed. As someone who loves exploring coffee, to be a part of a club that wants to educate you on, and provide you with, the ability to learn the differences in washing processes was quite admirable. (To learn more about the processes of coffee, check out Sean’s post on the Moustache Coffee Club’s blog.
We finished by asking Sean to share what he appreciates or enjoys about artisan roasters, or “good quality” coffee, and how it impacts the relationships we make, or who we make them with. What he said had some resounding insight:
“For me artisan roasted coffee is all about the subtle tastes and variety of flavors. I rage against dark roasts, mostly cause I see them just nullifying all the nice beautiful flavors in the coffee. So for me artisan coffee is all about roasting as delicately as possible to reveal the complex flavors of that particular coffee bean, be it citrus, nut or honey etc. I see mass market coffee just cutting all these beautiful flavors out of the coffee and burning it to hell in the name of uniformity of the brand & giving the same flavor to a customer week in and week out. In the artisan coffee world we are all about these differences and the uniqueness of the bean, so I see us as polar opposites to the mass marketers in this regard.
In terms of relationships, I’ve made a lot of great relationships through my love of coffee. From relationships with roasters through to fellow coffee drinkers. However an important part of this picture that is often overlooked is the relationship with the coffees source. I have found as I have gotten more into single-origin coffee I’ve really developed an affinity for the places that my coffee comes from. So, I’ll hear news reports of something happening in Ethiopia, Rwanda or even closer to home in Costa Rica or Brazil and I’ll be a lot more interested because I have a connection through coffee with these places. This kind of connection you don’t get with mass market blends of coffee. Someone telling me that the coffee is African doesn’t connect me to a place as much as me looking at a map of Yirgacheffe and reading about the cooperative who have produced the particular coffee I’m sipping on.”
To learn more about Moustache Coffee Club, check out moustachecoffeeclub.com
Co-host of the I Brew My Own Coffee Podcast and always has all the chocolate. I also love to play board games. Yea, let's go do that right now.