10 Minutes With Sam Schroeder

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Sam Schroeder
Retail Director & Co-Owner
Olympia Coffee Roasting Co.
Olympia, Washington

What other coffee jobs have you had?

Java Bean, Barista, 2000–2003, Seattle, Washington
Olympia Coffee Roasting Co., basically every title at one point or another, 2004–present, Olympia, Washington

Sam has been a part of the coffee industry in the Pacific Northwest for more than a decade.

Sam has been a part of the coffee industry in the Pacific Northwest for more than a decade.

What’s your favorite part about working in coffee?

First off, I just love coffee. For me, there is no food or beverage that compares with coffee.  I think my favorite part of working in coffee is that true specialty coffee is really a new and emerging industry. There is a huge chasm between where we are now and the possibility of coffee. I think back 10 years ago and things are so much better now in terms taste, understanding, community, and transparency in coffee. But I think we are still just at the tip of the iceberg, and the progression of excellent coffee is accelerating exponentially. We have a huge potential to shape the future and deliver on the promise of true specialty coffee. I find that extremely exciting.

Where do you ideally see yourself in 10 years?

I see myself continuing the pursuit of a life rich with depth and meaning, wherever that leads me.

Sam has been active in both the barista competition and the brewer's cup circuits.

Sam has been active in both the barista competition and the brewer’s cup circuits.

Who and what inspires you?

First and foremost, I am inspired by my staff. The level of professionalism they bring to their work, and their dedication to their craft is nothing short of inspiring. I get to work with a bunch of cool, down-to-earth, hard-working people. They are all into different things—playing music, hiking, cooking, growing food, crafting—but they all share a passion for coffee.

Additionally, I am inspired by the capacity of technology to improve the coffee industry. I know some are fearful that technology will take away the craft element of coffee, but I couldn’t disagree more. I think that those who take the quality path will only benefit from the potential of technology to help consistently deliver a better taste experience. I am also a big James Hoffmann fan.

He's experienced barista competitions both as a competitor and as a judge (pictured). As part of Olympia Coffee Roasting Co.'s core staff, Sam's palate is sharp and practiced.

He’s experienced barista competitions both as a competitor and as a judge (pictured). As part of Olympia Coffee Roasting Co.’s core staff, Sam’s palate is sharp and practiced.

What are you drinking right now?

Olympia Coffee’s Kanzu Lot 16 from Rwanda.

Crazy coffee experience you’d like to share?

Talk to me sometime. I’ll tell you a good story.

Sam stands on the counter at Olympia Coffee Roasting Co.'s newest location on Capital Boulevard. Here, she's shouting out the rules to a Northwest TNT that Olympia Coffee hosted in the summer of 2013.

Sam stands on the counter at Olympia Coffee Roasting Co.’s newest location on Capital Boulevard. Here, she’s shouting out the rules to a Northwest TNT that Olympia Coffee hosted in the summer of 2013.

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.