Justin Piercy: Coffee Insurrection Hero Chapter #74

Supported By Barista Hustle
Coffee Insurrection
Go to content

Justin Piercy: Coffee Insurrection Hero Chapter #74

Coffee Insurrection
1- Introduce yourself: who are you, where are you from, where do you work and what’s your job.

I'm Justin Piercy - husband and dad first, coffee person second! I'm based out of Ontario, Canada, about an hour north of Toronto and besides running my coffee pages, I also do freelance digital communications and marketing consulting together with my wife Sarah. We love putting more fuel behind people doing good things in the world!

2- When and why did coffee become important to you?

For me coffee was a slow evolution from caffeine fix to a deep appreciation for the many gifts that a cup of coffee gives - sensory, economic impact and personal connection! In that sense coffee became more and more important to me over a series of small moments. I still remember learning about direct trade for the first time over a decade ago from a great local roaster in Toronto and realizing that my cup of coffee could have an impact, positive or negative, on a totally different continent. Before that It was just a drink.

3- Do you remember the first coffee you had that was more than “just a cup of coffee”?

Absolutely yes. The first was when someone brought back to me some coffee roasted at Origin from Antigua, Guatemala - I still remember the name of the roastery, "Farnandos". I brewed it up in a french press and it was heads and shoulders above the starbucks I was buying. That was the first one for me.

4- What’s your favorite thing about going to work in the morning?

I've just shifted to focusing on coffee full time, so this is very much a time of everything feeling new.  Right now, going to work feels like playing and I hope to hang onto that feeling! And of course... Enjoying great cups all day is mandatory!
5- What’s your favorite brewing method and why?

Man, this is a hard one but I'm going to have to go with espresso. I love how there are so many layers to its preparation, but at the same time it's extremely fast. Sarah and I ALWAYS start our days with a round of americanos. But, on most days I enjoy several brewing methods between espresso, pour overs, batch and aeropress.

6- Which is the best coffee you ever tasted?

This is a really hard one because I genuinely enjoy a huge spectrum of coffees from nutty Brazillians to crazy double anaerobics, but but I might actually give top spot to a decaf. It was a one time run by Luna Coffee of pink and yellow bourbon EA Decaf. I do manage anxiety and decaf is a huge part of my coffee routine. Everything from Luna is excellent, but this coffee was the best decaf I have ever had, hands down.

Justin Piercy

7- Is there a country of origin that you tend to favor coffee from?

I'm literally all over the map on this one. Panama ranks up there but there is a huge spectrum and variety that comes out of Colombia.
8- Suggest us a roastery to check (not the one you working at/you use at work).

Pilot Coffee in Toronto is doing incredible work with their direct trade partners. Not only do they have an impressive menu of both blends and single origins, but core to what they do is partnering with producers at origin over the long term. I love this because it not only leads to better cups after many years of working with farmers on the same crop, but you also get to see the fruit of their reinvestment in those producers.
9- What’s the most important things you’ve learnt while working in the business?

I'm in a bit of a unique perspective because up until this month I've kinda been a consumer rather than being directly "in the business". I will say that on the whole, "coffee trumps equipment" is probably the most important thing I would say to new people. Make your coffee the first upgrade. Not only will everything get better after that, but it's also better for farmers and the planet.

10- How your work and the specialty coffee world are coping with Covid and the new challenges for hospitality?

Covid was really hard on a lot of businesses. I think the upside of this is that people were forced to think innovatively and creatively about what they uniquely bring to the table. One other upside is many more people started making coffee at home and while this was a negative for cafes in the short term, I think it will prove to be a positive thing for specialty coffee overall in the long term.

11- How do you see the specialty coffee scene in 10 years?

I think climate change will force a lot of creativity and innovation at origin with farming. I believe and hope that this will translate into a positive thing for both consumers and producers! Rather than seeing farms "die" in specific areas, I'm hopeful that new farming techniques, varietals and processing methods will be develpped that could translate into even better cups.

12- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hopefully I will continue to enjoy great coffee with my family!

13- Any last word? Any tip or suggestion you wanna share with someone that want to start this path?

Don't sweat the details. Start with great coffee and make the most of the equipment you have - enjoy every cup, you never get to the "end" so find the enjoyment of the process and try to leave the world a better place than you found it with your consumer decisions:)

Justin Piercy


Back to content