Photos by Ella Popper
My coffee beginnings
When I was 12 years old, my dad taught me how to make coffee, to help him out while he was getting ready to go to work in the morning. We used a simple, 4-cup, stove-top espresso pot, filled with inexpensive, Latin American espresso (Café Bustelo and El Pico being the best-known brands in New York back in the 70s). I grew up thinking that's how coffee was meant to be - dark, strong, drunk in large quantities - and I still hold pretty much the same beliefs.
I lived in London from 1994 to 2018, and I saw a lot of changes in the coffee culture there. But, I found it really difficult to find the kind of coffee I liked there: bold and dark, but not bitter. Back in 2016, I decided to roast my own coffee, learning to make it just the way I like it. It started in my kitchen with small half-pound (250g) batches, trying to get it just right each and every time, tasting and developing my own, unique style over the past 3 years.
Now, I am back in the Hudson Valley in New York, and my coffee passions have grown into Rob's Roast Coffees. I still select all the beans myself, roast the single-source, Free Trade batches in a larger roaster, but still small enough to watch over every single batch myself and sample every single batch myself. I only keep the coffees that live up to my criteria. Just the bold, dark, delicious stuff that I personally want to drink gets my name on the label.
I hope you like it, too.