Ruminations

When I moved to Houston to help open Blacksmith, one of the first things I was able to do was eat a meal with Eric Sandler, now of Culture Map. Eric asked me a rather simple, innocuous question: "What's your job title?" I honestly didn't know, so I deferred to David. His answer quickly became an ongoing joke, but one with a purpose: "Coffee. That's his job title: Coffee."

I was recently informed that the About page here on the website will list me as Director of Coffee Education. A tiny part of me was amused because it seems, three years in, I'm finally being defined. Really, though, the whole notion of being undefined in my role(s) is part and parcel to what working as a coffee pro is all about; I've worn many hats, and will continue to do so. I stopped working bar shifts in Blacksmith back in September, and though I occasionally pop in to the shop, the vast majority of my time is spent in the Greenway Coffee roastery, where I oversee the roasting operation from a coffee-quality standpoint, as well as engage in some training and other such endeavors. From the purchasing of green coffee to the discussion of the nuances of obscure coffee competition rules, I feel very honored to be able to keep my hands involved in so many aspects of the Houston coffee community.

2015 was a year filled with so much growth, both personally as well as a community, coffee and otherwise. Perhaps most importantly, Greenway Coffee purchased a brand-new, state-of-the-art roaster, which directly impacts the quality and consistency of the coffee now served in Blacksmith, and I can honestly say, I don't think Greenway's coffee lineup has ever been stronger than it is right at this moment.

2016 will bring much more of the same levels of growth, but of different types: I'll be traveling with David to coffee farms, judging more competitions, and educating more of you, the Houston coffee community, through classes at Blacksmith.


John Letoto

Honolulu native John Letoto came to Houston by way of Louisville to open Blacksmith in 2012. He contributes to all aspects of the business—roasting, making drinks and training—ensuring Blacksmith maintains its reputation for top-notch service. A regu … Read more
Honolulu native John Letoto came to Houston by way of Louisville to open Blacksmith in 2012. He contributes to all aspects of the business—roasting, making drinks and training—ensuring Blacksmith maintains its reputation for top-notch service. A regular on the national latte art competition circuit, Letoto was one of only three Americans to compete in the Coffee Fest Latte Art World Championship Open in Tokyo in 2015.

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