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Join me March 18 at Powells!

One of the high points for me after Left Coast Roast came out was when a friend told me they’d stumbled across it at the local library. It hadn’t occurred to me that it might find a life in a library. I love libraries. I think libraries are as cool as democracy and universal health insurance. Maybe cooler.


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And the only thing cooler than a library is Powells Books. I go to a lecture series each year that brings in some of the top authors in the country, and to a (wo)man, every single person gets on stage and talks about how amazing Powells is and how lucky we are to have it. Indeed.

I can hardly contain my excitement to tell you that I get to talk about my book at Powells. Ohmagerd. Come watch me faint on stage from the thrill of it all.

Oh, and as if that weren’t enough, joining me will be Duane Sorenson, the CEO of Stumptown. I’m always more comfortable in conversation than stranded by myself in front of a crowd. Duane has graciously agreed to come offer his perspectives on how Portland rose to become one of the finest coffee cities in the world, as well how the coffee industry has changed dramatically in the years since Stumptown opened its doors in 1999. After the talk, which is being hosted by the Fresh Pot, we’ll all taste some delish Stumptown coffees together.

Monday, March 18
7:30 pm
Powells on Hawthorne

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Left Coast Roast (Timber Press) is Hanna Neuschwander‘s caffeine-fueled guide to 55 key coffee companies in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California — from small artisan roasters like Heart, Coava, and Kuma and icons like Peet’s and Starbucks, to rapidly expanding shops like Portland’s Stumptown and San Francisco’s Blue Bottle. Hanna will be joined in conversation by Stumptown Coffee Roasters’s Duane Sorenson. A coffee tasting will follow their conversation. This event is cosponsored by The Fresh Pot.

Coffee at Home, Jan. 22 in San Francisco

On my visit to SF in January, I’m exciting to teach an intro class about making the most of coffee in your home:

18 Reasons
Tuesday, January 22nd, 7-9PM, Ticketed
Brew Methods: Coffee at Home
$25 for 18 Reasons members; $35 for the general public

We are hosting a primer on exploring coffee in your home kitchen. It’s easy to make drip coffee just as well as top cafes. We’ll focus on “slow coffee” approaches like French Press, pour over, and Aeropress. Find out what equipment is must-have and nice-to-have, and get suggestions for how common kitchen tools can help you get better results.

Throughout the class, we’ll discuss the complex flavors of coffees, talk about ways to develop a more nuanced palate, and explore how taste preferences differ. We’ll also touch on how roasting coffee at home (even just once!) is easy, inexpensive, and a great way to deepen your knowledge of coffee.

Coffee and Sustainabilty Panel, Jan. 21 in San Francisco

Sustainability is notoriously complex, embedded in deeply interdependent environmental, social, and economic contexts. And coffee, which must play convoluted games of global leap frog to get from farms into our cups, is no less tricky. The coffee industry, somewhat uniquely, has intertwined itself with sustainability at a deep level. But there are no easy answers.

When I was writing Left Coast Roast, the issue of sustainability was the thorniest, and therefore led to some of the most interesting conversations I had with coffee roasters.

I was interested in exploring how ideas about sustainability have changed in the last decade, and in hearing from both coffee roasters and academics on the issue. What is known about effective solutions? What are we still guessing at? Are quality and sustainability mutually reinforcing or do they conflict? I am grateful that the amazing folks at CUESA in San Francisco were keen to take up the topic and agreed to sponsor a panel discussion on it. Below is the description—I hope to see many people there.

Coffee and Sustainability Panel Discussion

Ferry Building, San Francisco
Jan. 21, 6 pm

Coffee is a daily necessity for many of us, savored quietly in the kitchen, downed at work as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, or sipped at a cafe among friends. With the exploding popularity of coffee in recent years, there are more options than ever, and more confusing messages about what “sustainable” means. Which coffee should we choose? In the Bay Area, you won’t find any coffee farms, but you will find local artisan roasters who are grappling with these questions, selecting their beans not only for quality and taste but also for values. Join CUESA for a discussion of the ethics behind a cup of coffee: What is its environmental footprint? Are the farmers taking care of the land? Are they getting a fair price, and what is the effect on the communities along the supply chain?

Hanna Neuschwander, author of Left Coast Roast: A guide to the Best Coffee and Roasters from San Francisco to Seattle, will introduce the complexities of growing coffee and moving it around the globe. She will moderate the panel.



Join me in Bellingham Friday, Dec. 14

I did almost all of the interviews for Left Coast Roast in person. One of the rare exceptions was Alex Mastema, the owner of Maniac Roasting in Bellingham. We just couldn’t get out schedules to line up, so I had to interview him by phone—but man, did his personality come across just fine. The man is oozing with it.

I am massively pleased that I’ll be meeting Mastema (finally!) in Bellingham in December, when I make a book tour stop in his hometown. Mastema is going to join me on stage at Village Books, for a conversation about coffee. Also joining us will be another fine man of coffee, Edwin Martinez. Martinez’s family hails from Guatemala, where they own coffee farms including Finca Vista Hermosa.  Edwin lives most of the year in Bellingham now and has played an important role in getting his family’s excellent coffees directly into the hands of  roasters. (I unexpectedly encountered it in Copenhagen this past summer, when I was visit on of that city’s finest roasters, Coffee Collective.)

Continuing in my efforts to keep this book tour from getting too boring, or too me-centric, Mastema and Martinez will help carry the evening. We’ll talk about how coffee is roasted and how it’s grown, and everything in between. We’ll also have samples of coffee roasted by Mastema and of those grown by Martinez’ family.

Please join me, coffee roaster Alex Mastema, and coffee farm owner Edwin Martinez at Village Books in Bellingham on Dec. 14.

Friday, Dec. 14, 7 pm
In the Book Fare Café on the mezzanine level
Village Books, 1200 11th St., Bellingham
Join Hanna Neuschwander, author of Left Coast Roast, in conversation with Alexarc Mastema owner of Maniac Roasting, and Edwin Martinez, owner of Onyx Coffee Bar, both in Bellingham, as they talk about where coffee comes from, how it’s roasted, and the different roles that roasters and producers play. This free event will take place at Book Fare Café and will feature samples of different coffees.

Visit Village Books.


Photos from the Left Coast Roast launch party, August 27

Coffee roasters, media, friends and family gathered to celebrate the launch of Left Coast Roast last night. We had an incredible turnout, selling out of books by 9pm. Spirit of 77 made the party a party with amazing coffee cocktails by barman Kelley Swenson (my favorite was some sort of ginger, coffee, and bourbon confection), as well as Migration Brewing’s Coffee IPA and Laurelwood Brewing’s Cascara Obscura (a Belgian-style beer brewed with the dried fruit of coffee cherry—yum). Roasters faced off against one another in Pop-a-Shot, and I played Skeeball until midnight. Not bad for a book launch. Thanks to everyone who attended and hooted/hollered for west coast coffee.

And you can check out more pics over on the Timber Press blog.

Sprudge Reviews Left Coast Roast

When came into being a few short years ago, it was modeled on the Drudge Report: Links to coffee news and gossip, packaged into a simple, sprawling list. In the last year, their coverage has gotten simultaneously more serious and more fun—they are pretty much the go-to place for learning about what’s happening now in “third wave” coffee.  I was extremely flattered that they wanted to have a first look at Left Coast Roast, and that they have such lovely things to say about it:

…The book manages to be introductory and authoritative at the same time, no small feat considering the breadth of Ms. Neuschwander’s subject matter – the 90 page primer that begins the book should be required reading, and not just for West Coast coffee types.

Left Coast Roast is an absolutely beautiful printed object, stunningly designed by Timber’s Breanna Goodrow and rife with lively, playful illustrations by Allison Berg and Ryan Bush. Sprudge was lucky enough to score an early copy of LCR, and seriously, it’s a playground of information and art.

I couldn’t agree more about that last part, but the way. It really *is* a lovely book, thanks to the work of Bree, Allison, and Ryan.

Launch party in Portland—THIS MONDAY, AUGUST 27

Please join us for a public party celebrating west coast coffee and the launch of Left Coast Roast:

Spirit of 77
Monday, August 27, 7-10 pm
500 NE MLK Jr. Blvd., Portland
Coffee IPA, specialty cocktails, coffee-inspired menu, cold brew — and advance copies of Left Coast Roast!

Free to enter — buy a book, get a free beer!