Coffee is ME Podcast
A New Coffee Startup is Born with Stephen Ezell - Sequential Coffee

A New Coffee Startup is Born with Stephen Ezell - Sequential Coffee

September 15, 2020

My guest in this episode is Stephen Ezell. Stephen is my old buddy, who together with Jonathan Shepard started Sequential Coffee.

Jonathan is the business brain and Stephen is the coffee brain of this operation. It is a dream combo for every coffee nerd out there. Lucky Stephen!

In this episode, we talked about the first steps and challenges when starting a coffee roasting operation. Sequential Coffee sells online using Shopify, but also retails in grocery stores, and they recently even started a kiosk. Which of these were good decisions?

We also discussed how Covid has influenced their operation and the opportunities this crazy time can offer. 

Want to start to work in the coffee industry but don’t know where to start?  Stephen revealed his tips for careers in the industry where you can make a decent living wage.

We hope you will enjoy this episode.


Find Sequential Coffee: 




Crossing the Line to Work with Haitian farmers - Cafe Kreyol -  Joseph Stazzone

Crossing the Line to Work with Haitian farmers - Cafe Kreyol - Joseph Stazzone

July 28, 2020

I am not sure whether it is Joey's fascinating story or the current global situation, but this episode got a bit personal. 


Joey first started trading in “commodities” as a drug user and later dealer.  Today he is the CEO of Cafe Kreyol  -- a direct trade coffee importing and roasting company based in Manassas, Virginia.  His path was not straight, but finding God and purpose in his life led him out of the darkness.


Cafe Kreyol has a strong foot in the In this episode I meant to be funny with A question about how his drug smuggling experience helped with direct trade. 


That question ended up on the cutting room floor, but we did talk about having a social mission and how it can or can't help with your business, and about coffee farming in Haiti; we discussed different coffee roasters we have used, Joe's wins and losses while building his brand, and finally we returned to a discussion about the universe, soil, and human ego.

Building family coffee business with Mitchell Popadziuk - [CxT] Coffee Company

Building family coffee business with Mitchell Popadziuk - [CxT] Coffee Company

June 8, 2020

Mitchell Popadziuk managed to fall into a perfect team. He is the business mastermind, his brother Tristan brings the coffee passion, and their mother Kelly is the soul of sales and marketing. I am jealous! In a good way ... :)

[CxT] is a very young but dynamically growing company which, despite to the fact that Mitch is a podcast listener, fell into the same trap that we at Green Plantation coffee did: underestimating their growth. They initially invested in a US Roaster Corp 5kg roaster which they outgrew very fast. Now they roast on a Loring Falcon.

Mitch and I also discussed their sales channels and I shared my experience selling on Amazon, Ebay and Spinn Marketplace.

This is the first episode where the guest asked me a question and boy, did I have fun with it! We talked a bit about the idea of electric heating elements in drum roasters and also about use of influencers and Tik Tok for coffee sales.

The rebel heart of Flag and Wire Coffee

The rebel heart of Flag and Wire Coffee

May 17, 2020

Nick Walton is a rebel... was a rebel. He grew up on a milk farm, but his revolutionary attitude towards his parents drove his dad to say "enough! Time to grow up!" Nick's coffee story starts with sleeping in a car while homeless. Was this the push he needed to take life seriously, which finds its conclusion in a mysteriously-named coffee roasting company Flag and Wire? I will let him tell the story.

As fascinating Nick's story is, our conversation is not only about him. We dig in into concrete strategies and tips for every coffee entrepreneur.

We start with advice on naming your company. Nick and his wife hired a naming consultant. I wanted to know how that worked for them, was it worth it?

Nick shares his very interesting take on passion in the coffee industry, and how his custom-built air roaster irritated other coffee professionals.

We also discuss our experiences with different channels when it comes to selling coffee. Where are they getting results, wholesale, grocery stores, a web shop?

Finally we gave some love to a few wine producers. Since we recorded the podcast remotely early in the day, we did not pop any wine this time, but we discussed our favorite wine makers.

My suggestion was from Rachel Ryan - Sierra Foothills Chardonnay, and Nick suggested wine makers like Eyrie VineyardsA to ZBrooks Wines.

You can find Flag And Wire:


Is this coffee roaster the future of coffee roasting? With Arno Holschuh from Bellwether

Is this coffee roaster the future of coffee roasting? With Arno Holschuh from Bellwether

March 6, 2020

We are back with a great new podcast featuring a really cool new innovation in coffee roasting - the Bellwether Coffee Roasting Machine.

Bellwether has developed a new type of small-batch electric commercial coffee roaster. It doesn’t require ventilation, a gas line, or even a contractor or complicated permit to install. It features tablet based roasting software, and the company has a green coffee sourcing division that allows companies to get up and running quickly with customized roast profiles for each of the coffees in their inventory.

Does this sound too good to be true? It may have been designed and built by coffee people, but we were uncertain of the efficacy, practicality, ability to produce delicious coffee, and the cost benefits of such a device. We wondered, do we really need a new roaster? Well, we’ve tasted the coffee and can confidently claim it produces a delicious roast. After seeing the operation, we were equally impressed by what they’ve produced.

Join Valerian and Marcus as we discuss this new technology with Arno Holschuh, Bellwether’s Chief Coffee Officer and one of the early innovators of the Bellwether Roaster

$500 Gesha vs $10 Brazilian Coffee and Instagram Marketing Tips with Umeko Motoyoshi

$500 Gesha vs $10 Brazilian Coffee and Instagram Marketing Tips with Umeko Motoyoshi

December 12, 2019

We are back with part 2 of our discussion with Umeko Motoyoshi, coffee entrepreneur, social media expert, educator, and author. In this episode we continue last week’s discussion with the author of The @wastingcoffee Guide To Not Wasting Coffee and purveyor of the Umeshiso Cupping Spoons.

This week we share the results of a super fun and enlightening consumer experiment Valerian, Marcus, and Melissa conducted at the Boot Coffee Campus booth at the San Francisco Coffee Festival and hear Umeko’s take on the experiment and how consumers approach coffee differently from coffee professionals.

Umeko also shares some of her secret sauce for social media success. With over 13,000 followers, she knows how to engage social media users! Listen in and learn how being genuine and showing yourself is one way to build a brand. We ask Umeko how influencers, specifically micro influencers, can build a brand; and explore how you can build and reinforce trust in your brand through your social media presence (or risk losing trust). 

Learn more about The @Wastingcoffee Guide to Not Wasting Coffee and some of the ways Umeko sees our industry normalizing waste and devaluing coffee and the work of everyone involved. It’s an important discussion that she’s tackling head on!

Umeko Motoyoshi - The Personality of Coffee Tasting. Is it a Real Thing?

Umeko Motoyoshi - The Personality of Coffee Tasting. Is it a Real Thing?

December 5, 2019

This week we talk with Q grader, author, educator, entrepreneur Umeko Motoyoshi. This is part 1 of a two part episode with Umeko, the creator of the Umeshiso rainbow cupping spoon and author of The @wastingcoffee Guide To Not Wasting Coffee.

We discuss how making the cupping and tasting environment more inclusive and accessible can draw customers into the discussion of flavor and taste. Umeko discusses how we should bring ourselves into the cupping room, how taste and flavor perception and experiences are deeply personal, and that it’s okay if we don’t all share the same experience of a coffee. The conversations ranges from Q Grading and the goal objectivity, the way the SCA cupping form informs our experiences and the influence of our upbringings.

We loved hosting Umeko and her throughtfulness. Join us as we share impressions of La Mula geisha from Panama, an incredible robusta Marcus discovered on a recent trip to Brazil from Cafe Fazenda Venturim, and two of Valerian’s coffees - one from Green Plantation in Slovakia and the other from Unleashed Coffee in the US.

We will soon post the rest of the discussion in part two where talk about social media, building a brand, and other entrepreneurial topics.

I want to be a professional coffee taster…

I want to be a professional coffee taster…

November 5, 2019

In this episode, we interview Rick Appleton (Boston) and Abdulrahman Qurban (Saudi Arabia), students attending the SCA Sensory class at Boot Coffee Campus. What were the hardest parts of the course and what was the ultimate takeaway? 

Valerian tests Rick's newly acquired ability to evaluate coffee by applying his skills tasting his skin contact natural wine. How does Rick do? 

What is the difference between the SCA Sensory class and the Q Grader class?

All these questions are answered in this episode. 



Sensory battle of the two most sensible worlds: Wine vs. coffee tasting and industry.

Sensory battle of the two most sensible worlds: Wine vs. coffee tasting and industry.

October 17, 2019

In this episode, we will explore the world of wine with Eric Danch.

We focus on tasting and sensory comparison between wine and coffee, but we also touch on the importance of origin, farming and processing techniques when determining the pricing of wine or coffee.

Eric was kind enough to share some business techniques they use in the wine industry that can also be used in the coffee world. 

In this episode, we talk a lot about Valerian's birthplace, Komarno, and the wines of Hungary, Slovakia, and Serbia while drinking Bott Frigyes - 2018 Kadarka.

Wine for this podcast was provided by:

Danch & Granger - Wines from Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, and Croatia.  

What is the Ideal Size of a Coffee Roaster, Can You Save Past Crop Coffee, Drum Speed, Mimicking Espresso and more …

What is the Ideal Size of a Coffee Roaster, Can You Save Past Crop Coffee, Drum Speed, Mimicking Espresso and more …

September 20, 2019


In this podcast, we will revisit the question of what is the ideal size of the roaster one should buy for their coffee roasting startup. You can find my old article here:

We also got a few questions from you! Thanks! We feel your questions make this podcast more dynamic. Keep them coming, please.


Love the podcast!

I have a question about adjusting a roasting profile as a coffee ages. We’ve had a few coffees that started out wonderful and juicy, but as the enter or near the ‘past crop’ zone start to taste woody, papery, or sometimes underdeveloped, any advice on how to adjust our profiles? 


Matt, Matthew Schodorf

Founder / Roaster / Café de Leche



I do have a question, and I shall take your roasting courses if you give the answer that cures the issue we are facing.

We do roast green coffee beans from China and from Indonesia, of course, each single source is roasted separately. We do not roast blended green beans.

The issue we face is that we always get color inconsistency in the roasted coffee within one batch (uneven coffee color for the same roasted batch).

Our roaster is 3 kg (max load for each batch is 2.500 kg of green beans). 

We pre-heat up to 150 Celsius some times 170 Celsius (experimenting).

This is always the case with Medium Dark roast (we drop down the roasted batch immediately after quietness of 1st crack), and not with the dark roast

Your help in this is highly appreciated.

Best regards

Samir H Yousef


Hi, this is Candy from Southeastern Roastery. I’m opening a cafe this fall 2019 in Riverdale Park, MD and already have a few wholesale clients with more interested.

I am running into an issue regularly where potential clients want a tasting, have equipment but don’t have it connected (espresso machines, grinders, etc). My first question is what are the best portable equipment for tastings as I’m getting my shop built out? 

My second question is how to best mimic and espresso with portable equipment? I find it hard with a French Press, water hot pot and portable grinder.


Candy Schibli



  1. If I wanted to donate a portion of my coffee business profits to coffee producers in need, how would I do it?
  2. Seasonality: I need a guide to determining when I should buy a certain country's coffee. I want to buy at the beginning or middle of the season & not at the end

Dan Gorman, Punto Fino Coffee,  Fairfax 


When is the best time to adjust drum speed? Drying phase Maillard, after first crack? I’ve read what Scott Rao has to say about rpm for specific roasters depending on the roaster size and would agree with him for the most part. What I can’t seem to understand is at what point do you adjust drum speed when trying to create the best curve/profile for a specialty coffee?!

Too slow will cause more conduction heat and scorched coffee

Appropriate speed will give you a good well-rounded coffee if the roaster is skilled enough.

Too fast will also give you scorched coffee since beans aren’t flowing in the drum properly

I’m trying to think outside the box and figure out how to manipulate drum speed to create an outstanding cup of coffee. I understand there are many factors involved such as atmospheric pressure, ambient temperature, humidity.. etc but I truly believe there has to be a way to slow down Maillard with drum speed to fully develops sugars and achieve a better end result.. questions is how?

Rudy Altamirano, LuwakCafe, Tijuana Mexico

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