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Unpacking Coffee with Kandace and Ray: George Howell, Part 1

George Howell Coffee. Needmore Designs photo.

This week’s episode of Unpacking Coffee includes a sit-down with a living lion of the specialty coffee industry, George Howell, as well as with his daughter, Jenny Howell, the director of coffee sourcing for Boston-area-based George Howell Coffee.

Both Howells speak with characteristic eloquence about the wine-like joys of single-origin, single-farm specialty coffees — a concept that the elder Howell is widely credited as helping to popularize in the specialty industry.

While sharing the George Howell Coffee origin story, George Howell also explores more recent projects, such as the roasting and retail company’s operations involving freezing green coffees.

Kandace (center) with George and Jenny Howell.

“It’s a little bit like having a beautiful color photograph in a sunlit room — a year later, it’s going toward sepia. That was my problem; it may be seasonal in May, but is it really seasonal in July and I still have it?” Howell said of green inventory. “So we started freezing coffee, and then we just take out what we need for a few weeks, and we roast that.”

The depth of coffee experience possessed in the Howell family leaves a whole lot to unpack, so expect Part 2 of the George Howell interview in two weeks. But first, Part 1:

Unpacking Coffee is a show discovering new coffee roasters one episode at a time led by Kandace and Ray of the Portland-based studio Needmore Designs, which specializes in coffee, wine and lifestyle brands.