The ranges of coffee knowledge, brewing equipment ownership and brewing acumen are wide and deep among consumers — so much so that a natural chasm tends to develop between the worlds of high-end home consumerism and everyday, on-the-go consumerism.
A Seattle-based coffee roasting startup called Tastier is hoping to fill that gap, following the belief that coffee brewing should never in and of itself be an obstacle to quality coffee. While many high-end roasters tend to promote ideal brewing applications and recipes in association with a specific coffee, Tastier’s pitch is that all their coffees are roasted to yield quality results no matter the brewing device, be it a condition-controlled manual brewer or a $30 drip brewer from the local box store.
The business is owned by John Custer and Nate Jones, the business partners behind Kaffeologie, maker of the S Filter, a well-regarded stainless steel mesh filter for Aeropress. Joining the team last October as operations and creative director was Katherine Hartline, who oversees the Diedrich IR-7 on which Tastier is toll roasting in a Seattle warehouse space.
We connected with Hartline via e-mail to discuss the concept and plans for the business:
From a roasting perspective, are there really different sourcing or roasting strategies that work toward making coffees more successful on different brewing devices?
Definitely. With any roasting operation, there’s a certain level of intentionality one needs anyway — understanding your goal in roasting, what you want to do differently from other roasters, etc. All of that informs which coffees you choose to roast and sell.
Since we blend coffees, typically in pairs, we look for coffees with similar solubility points and complementary flavor profiles. We usually look for coffees that have something that really stands out about them, whether it be a complex flavor experience, an incredibly juicy body, or one great, balanced, consistent note. Blending carefully allows us to really highlight a coffee’s idiosyncrasies while still getting a consistent, balanced cup on a variety of brewing apparatuses.
Do you believe brewing is a hurdle to consumers in getting into specialty coffee?
I think it can be. Within the specialty industry it can be easy to stay in an ivory tower of best practices and ideal conditions when it comes to brewing coffee. There’s a glut of articles in the specialty coffee sector essentially telling consumers “you’re doing it wrong,” and I think that can be a huge turnoff, especially since the brewing reality for many consumers is going to stay a little less-than-ideal.
Not everyone has time to brew a pourover or the money to buy a really high end auto-brewer. That doesn’t mean, however, that those consumers should be excluded from the specialty conversation — there’s room for coffee that’s balanced, clean, and sweet on a Mr. Coffee.
Will the business be focused solely on direct-to-consumer sales or will there be wholesale, too?
Our goal is to get better coffee into more kitchens, so we are completely focused on direct-to-consumer sales. We do have plans for other sales outlets at a later time.
Can we expect a Tastier cafe?
Not at this time!