– Can you please introduce yourself in a few words.
I’m originally from Atlanta Georgia and have lived in NYC for the past 10 years. My daughter Frances « Frankie » is turning 3 this summer. In addition to coffee I’m also trained as a playwright.

– What’s your story in the coffee industry?
While an undergrad I worked for a few 2nd wave roasters including Starbucks. I moved to Chicago on a whim and was lucky enough to be hired as a barista at Intelligentsia’s Millennium Park location. There I received my first experience with specialty coffee and worked with a number of people who are still friends of mine. I spent that summer in Atlanta and spent a lot of time hanging out at Octane Coffee where I first tasted Counter Culture’s coffee and was blown away. I moved the New York to pursue an MFA in Theater from Sarah Lawrence College and after graduation I worked as a barista for Sweet Leaf Coffee, Ground Support Coffee, Black Brick Coffee and Stumptown. By the time I arrived at Stumptown I was committed to a career in coffee and after slinging coffee for a few months became a Wholesale Trainer and Account Manager. I worked at Stumptown for about 2 years before accepting my a job with Counter Culture Coffee.

– What’s your specialty and what makes you different?
My current title is Educator and it’s something I’m passionate about. I consider myself to particularly good at training people who know very little about coffee and may be intimidated by specialty coffee. I’m also interested in coffee history and coffee processing, I’ve tried to obtain a strong knowledge on those subjects

– What was your first coffee experience?
Making mr. Coffee for my mom on Mother’s Day. I poured cinnamon and maple syrup over the pre-ground coffee!

– How/when have you discovered about specialty coffee?
When I interviewed at Intelly I was asked « what’s your favorite brew method. » I said I didn’t understand the question and was shown a clover, French press, siphon, and Chemex, and Eva solo. I knew this was something different.

– What was your best coffee experience?
This was a long time ago, as I’ve since quit smoking. But getting up early with my wife and having a cup of coffee and a cigarette on the stoop of our first apartment together.

– Do you prepare coffee at home ? If yes, what method do you use?
Yup! French Press. It’s my wife preference and it’s easy to do when there is a grumpy toddler waiting for breakfast.

– How do you like your coffee? Black, sugar and milk, iced, vietnamese style,…?
Mostly black but I will never say no to a mocha.

– How would you qualify yourself as coffee drinker (occasional, heavy, addict…)?
Occasional, I tend to mainly drink coffee during the work week, almost never on the weekends.

– Have you always been into the coffee industry? If not, what was your previous job?
I’ve had a passion for specialty coffee since I was 20 years old. Working as a barista was one of my first jobs. I still write and I’m currently working on a novel.

– Do you have another passion or a hobby besides coffee? In addition to the writing, I’m also a puppeteer. My last performance was Taylor Mac’s A 24-Hour Decade History of Popular Music. The play was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

– What is/are your favorite website(s) to get information about coffee?
Sweet Maria’s is great for info, I’ve enjoyed stuff from Boss Barista, particularly he way they covered sexual harassment at Four Barrel. I also like Michelle Johnson’s Blog – « The Chocolate Barista. »

– What would you say to people who don’t know much about coffee?
The history is fascinating and the science is much more complicated than you think. Most importantly, this industry contains some of the best people I’ve ever met.

Thomas
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Thomas

Thomas Wyngaard Founder at OK Coffee, proud barista at OR Coffee, producer of Extasia radio show on Campus, Brussels.