We're very excited to share this news with you:
Tomorrow, we are launching a Guest Roaster Program. What does this mean? Well, for the next few months, both our pour over menu and retail wall will feature offerings from Passenger Coffee Roasters. Passenger is relatively local to us, based in Lancaster, PA, but HubBub will be one of the first shops in Philadelphia to feature their gorgeous coffees, starting with Ethiopia Guji GR. 1 and Guatemala El Pilar. For those who fear change - don't fret! We will still offer two single origin coffees each from Stumptown and ReAnimator, though as always, we do urge you to take a chance and try something new.
Aside from keeping things fresh and fun around the Bubs, we have intentional reasons for adding Passenger to our menu. The first is striving to foster a deeper sense of community within the coffee scene: making connections, making friends, and celebrating great people doing great things in our industry. Other coffee companies aren't our competition, they are our allies!
The second reason is doing our part to add diversity to what the Philadelphia coffee scene has to offer curious coffee drinkers. There are so many great small roasters across our region and the country at large, and we want to share them with you!
Passenger approaches coffee exactly how we love: with meticulous care, authentic passion, unyielding commitment to responsible sourcing and buying practices, and rigorous quality control. They work out of a stunning space in downtown Lancaster, and do bustling wholesale and online business. In a park just a few blocks away from their roastery, a vintage air stream trailer acts as their retail space! Seriously, how rad is that? They are also working on their flagship brick & mortar shop in Lancaster, which will open in early 2016. Passenger was founded in 2014, and it's amazing what their small crew of eight employees have accomplished since then!
Their single origin coffees from Guatemala and Ethiopia that we'll have on the menu are incredible, and we'll be sharing more info about each of them over the next few weeks through this blog and our social media accounts. But for now, we want to tell you a bit more about Passenger's story.
Nate Kaiser is Passenger's Lead Ambassador & Director of Wholesale. Though he is a busy road warrior, he took a few minutes to answer our questions about the company. Read on to learn more:
HubBub: What is Passenger's origin story? We read on your website a slightly mysterious statement about you "facing an opportunity we could not refuse." What was that opportunity?
Nate: Passenger began as a result of a lot of moving parts successfully coming together. Literally, this meant all of us moving from other states back to Lancaster. Our co-owners Crystal and Kyle came from Seattle and San Francisco, respectively, our Director of Coffee David came from Brooklyn, and I came from Baltimore. However, these moves were independent as we were each moving back to Lancaster to be closer to our families. It wasn't long until we realized we shared a similar vision and needed to do this together. One thing led to the next and here we are a couple years later seeing our hopes of roasting some of the finest coffees in the world coming to fruition.
HubBub: What specifically do you do as "Lead Ambassador" at Passenger?
Nate: I have the privilege of working closely with our wonderful wholesale partners providing support and training. I also get the opportunity to travel, meet prospective clients and others in the specialty coffee industry.
HubBub: Can you tell us about some cool stuff going on in Lancaster that we might not know about?
Nate: I think I can speak for us collectively- we are so pleased to be operating Passenger Coffee Roasters in Lancaster. Not only are we fortunate to have our families here, but we live in such a beautiful place with so many possibilities. I love that we're centrally located and can get to NY, Philly, Baltimore, and DC in just a short drive. Yes, there are Amish here. Yes, you will get stuck behind a buggy on your way to the outlets. Forget all that (nothing against the Amish). There is so much more to experience. Check out Ma(i)son for a great meal, The Horse Inn for cocktails, The Fridge for a stellar beer selection, and Central Market for your tourist fix/ amazing produce. If you have time, drive south towards Pequea and take a hike. You won't be sorry.
HubBub: What's your favorite coffee? What's your daily coffee routine?
Nate: Oh my, I'm not sure I can answer this question. It's like trying to choose your favorite child. I'm not even sure I can narrow this to a top 10. That said, speaking in grand generalities, I gravitate towards really clean and sweet coffees and African coffees. I'm not even sure that is fair to say. My daily routine is quite dependent on the day - throughout the week, I participate in a lot of cuppings and trainings. When the weekend comes, I usually make coffee for my wife via beehouse first thing (she's been really into the El Pilar recently) and I drink tea. In fact, I drink A LOT of tea. I really enjoy drinking coffee in the afternoon and the rhythm of making it after lunch.
HubBub: What's the best part of your day?
Nate: Professionally, I really enjoy our production cuppings. It's my opportunity to dig into and understand our offerings. Personally, I love coming home and being with my family. There's nothing like being with family...and drinking great coffee together.
HubBub: What are you into outside of work?
Nate: I like to ferment things. My countertops are full of all things bubbling and sour. 95% of the vegetables that come into my house get put into a brine and ferment away. I make a lot of beer, cider, and mead as well. Recently, I made a 14% Imperial Stout with our 'Stowaway' blend that turned out killer! Check out Sandor Katz, The Art of Fermentation.