Andytown Coffee to roast and release the Ecuador Juan Pena in honor of Dustin Demers of Turning Point, with all proceeds going to a cupping lab in Ecuador in Dustin’s name.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Andytown Coffee Roasters
A few months ago, the coffee community lost Dustin Demers of Turning Point Coffee in San Francisco. He was an influential and beloved member of the community, and many baristas and business owners were overwhelmed by this tragic loss. “We have known Dustin since before Andytown was open. He helped introduce us to Patrick, the guy who owned the roaster that ended up in our space. He was very much a part of our founding,” shares Lauren Crabbe, co-founder of Andytown Coffee Roasters in San Francisco. “When he passed away, he had a lot of inventory that his brother inherited … green coffee, roasting equipment. When we found out he had all this coffee, we thought that we couldn’t let this coffee go to market and have people roast it however they wanted.”
So Lauren and the team at Andytown decided to buy some of the coffees that Dustin had on hand—specifically a couple of bags of a coffee from Ecuador produced by Juan Pena. Dustin was particularly close to Juan: “Dustin had visited the Juan Pena farm, he was in communication with Juan, and he’d send photos of what he was doing [with the coffee] to him,” Lauren shared. But once they got the coffee, they weren’t sure exactly what to do with it. “We couldn’t just roast it and sell it for a profit,” she notes. So instead, Andytown will be roasting and selling the Juan Pena with all profits going to a cupping lab in Ecuador. “We wanted to create something in Dustin’s name that would have a larger impact than just putting his name on the bag,” shares Lauren.
Dustin was always known as a hardworking and innovative coffee roaster. “Dustin would roast everything a million different ways. He tried everything and his goal was for quality. He cared so much about the coffee he put his name on,” Lauren notes. He would challenge others around him and ask questions constantly, looking for new approaches and trying to figure out why people did what they did. “He was one of those people who would challenge you on coffee. We’d be having a casual conversation and he’d ask you, ‘What parameters are you doing this at?’ He was always challenging me.”
While always pursing excellence, Dustin was also kind and considerate, and always driven by his passion for coffee. “He was a very gentle soul, and he was a very passionate person,” Lauren shares. “He loved coffee. It was to the point that his room had thousands of dollars of brewing equipment and roasting tools … but he was sleeping on an air mattress. Everything went to learning more about coffee.”
At first, when the roasters of Andytown got their hands on the Juan Pena, they were baffled by the roast profile they got from Dustin. His profile was wildly different from the traditional roast profiles at Andytown, but when they cupped his profile, they knew this was the way to go. “We were looking at Dustin’s profile—the dry, the Maillard reaction, and the post-crack development—he seems to emphasize the first part,” shares Matthew Roos, roaster at Andytown, who notes that this style of roasting seems to get most of the flavor out during the early stages of roasting. “It seems to preserve a lot of the acidity and fruit flavors,” he notes.
Dustin’s passing was difficult for the coffee community, and many were unsure how to react or preserve his memory. “We were at a loss. What do you do when someone passes away? This is sort of a new feeling for me and many of the people in our industry,” Lauren shared. Roasting this coffee and building a cupping lab named after Dustin will allow the community to honor his memory and remember his passion and drive. “He would work his ass off to perfect something, and go above and beyond to explain his methods,” Lauren shared. “He took a lot of pride in doing things right.” You can buy this coffee—which has a purple logo because, as Lauren noted, “Dustin loved purple”—online and in stores until supplies last.