– Can you please introduce yourself in a few words.
Howdy! I’m Max, I import, brew and bottle Cascara. I also like to ride bikes.
– What’s your specialty and what makes you different?
We specialize in Cascara, which is different on its own. Beyond that, our mission is to spread radically sustainable beverages. We dig deep to explore and ensure environmental sustainability.
– What is the story behind Nomad Trading Company?
We started with a goal of sustainability in beverage. Jon and I went to college together, and have always been excited by sustainability/efficiency. When we learned about some large scale underutilized agricultural products, like cascara, we knew we had to do something. We both left our jobs and booked a trip to origin shortly thereafter.
– How do you source/choose your cascara?
We look at three things: flavor, food safety, and ethics. Flavor is self explanatory. Food safety is crucial for us. We have to look at and test for potential chemical contamination, as well as mycotoxins. We work with farmers and mills to develop better practices to ensure a food safe product. Ethics is also big for us. We look at the human and agronomic ethics being practiced. How are pickers treated? How are they paid? How does the farmer approach farming? Are they committed to regenerative practices? These are factors that really excite us.
– Do you travel in the producing countries? If yes, where have you been?
I do! I’ve been to Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Ecuador. This year, I’ll be going to Colombia and Panama.
– Have you ever worked in the coffee industry?
Before doing what I do now? No.
– Do you like/drink coffee?
– how would you qualify yourself as coffee drinker (occasional, heavy, addict…)?
– Do you prepare coffee at home ? If yes, what method do you use?
I brew a lot of cascara at home, which I prepare around a 6-8% ratio (varies on the cascara) in a french press. Every once in a while, I make pour over using my trusty V60.
– How do you like your coffee? Black, sugar and milk, iced, vietnamese style,…?
– What was your first coffee experience?
When I was 11 years old, a friend and I drank an insane amount of coffee while our parents weren’t around. We knew adults drank coffee and wanted to emulate them. I remember later that day, feeling so jittery that I thought I would explode.
– What was your best coffee experience?
Tough to pick one. Drinking coffee where it’s farmed is always a beautiful experience. I love sharing a cup with friends, or over a good book.
– Have you always been into the food & beverage industry? If not, what was your previous job?
I have always been into F+B. I worked for a hard cider company in Massachusetts before jumping into Nomad.
– Do you have another passion or a hobby besides cascara?
I spend as much time outside as I can. I love to cycle. This year, I’m getting into racing for the first time, and am trying out my first triathlons. Beyond that, I hike, ski, listen to a lot of Phish, and cook.
– What is/are your favorite website(s) to get information about cascara or science related to it?
The science on cascara is pretty decentralized. This the my favorite paper that I’ve read about cascara. There aren’t any great resources on processing or production.
– What place in the world would you recommend for coffee, cascara or just holidays?
One day, I’d love to live in Oaxaca, Mexico. The people are so incredibly welcoming, the land is beautiful, and the food is incredible. Plus OK Coffee alum Enrique Lopez grows delicious coffees at Finca Chelin.
– What would you say to people who don’t know much about cascara?
There are a handful of bottled cascara producers out there (including us), and more specialty coffee shops are experimenting with it. Modcup makes a delicious and unique Coffeefruit Chocolate. Cascara quality improves the more that people work with it, so it will only continue to get better from here on out. Give it a try!