We spend 10 awesome minutes getting to know Aaron Jordan
10 Minutes With is our ongoing series where we invite you to take a little time getting to know some of the most interesting people working in coffee around the world. Today we talk with Aaron Jordan of Roast House Coffee in Spokane, Washington.
Roast House Coffee
What other coffee jobs have you had?
I got started in coffee working for a local franchise back in Michigan. It was one of those 24-ounce, blended, pumped-with-sugar type places. I worked my way up from barista to general manager over the course of 3 years. When I was in college in Chicago, I took up home-roasting as a hobby, which soon became a small business, serving my peers. That’s where I was officially introduced to the specialty-coffee industry. After that, my next coffee job was here at Roast House.
What’s your favorite part about working in coffee?
The fact that coffee can be as simple or as complex as you make it is really exciting to me. For the customer drinking the coffee, it is simple—either good or bad. For all the people working hard to develop the specialty-coffee industry, it is so much more complex than that. We put in hours and hours hunting, researching, roasting, cupping, brewing, training, just so that what ends up in the cup being served across the counter is the very best. All the work put in by the farmers, importers, roasters, and baristas just to give someone their morning cup of joe is so complex yet so simple. I love it!
Where do you ideally see yourself in 10 years?
Ideally, in 10 years, I would love to either own or be in the process of starting up my own cafe and roastery. It has been a big dream of mine for a couple years now and I get fired up just thinking about it.
Who and what inspires you?
Fair warning, this could get lengthy. My wife Allison is my biggest inspiration, I could rave about her all day. She’s a pretty fantastic lady and has always supported me in my ventures. I couldn’t ask for more.
Nathan Hamood of Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters was the guy who brewed me my first cup of specialty coffee. He initially showed me the ropes of roasting when it was a side hobby for me, and I still learn a ton from him every time we talk.
Deborah DiBernardo, the owner of Roast House, and I’m not saying that just because she is my boss. As I dream about starting up my own business, I often look to Deb and how she runs things as an example. She has one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever witnessed and centers her business around what is the right thing to do, and that’s really inspiring!
Stine Hansen, holy smokes, that lady inspires me every time she walks through the doors to the roastery. I am always bouncing roasting theories and profiles off of her, and in a lot of ways she has been a mentor and sounding board for me.
Velton Ross of Velton’s Coffee Roasting is hands down my favorite person in the specialty coffee industry. That man is a total giver and has taught me a lot over the short period that I’ve known him.
Honestly, if it wasn’t for these people and their inspiration I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’ve been blessed and inspired by a lot of other people, these are just a few.
What are you drinking right now?
Chemex of our Washed Ethiopia: Orange blossom and a huge bouquet of flowers in the aroma, rich and creamy body with a dried strawberry acidity and vanilla-like sweetness. A classic for sure!
Crazy/memorable coffee experience you’d like to share?
Oh man, I’ll never forget this moment as long as I live. It was my very first attendance at Coffee Fest at the Slayer Espresso booth. They were featuring Nekisse from Ninety Plus and it was like fruit jam, so syrupy and sweet with so much fruit packed into that little two-ounces of espresso. It was outrageous, by far my favorite memory because it reminds me of the possibilities that coffee truly has. Ever since then, I try to really develop a lot of sweetness in our roast profiles because it showcases how dang good coffee can be!
What do you do when you’re not doing coffee?
I was born and raised in the flatlands of the Midwest, so mountains and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest fascinate me. Because of that, I love to travel with Allison and go on as many road trips as we can. I love cycling, getting out and dreaming up business ideas, coffee shop ideas and whatever possibilities pop into my head. I’m a huge proponent of dreaming, setting goals and accomplishing them. That’s what I try to fill my spare time with.