The Pilot's Blog

Welcome The Roasterie’s Newest Bean Hunter: Jon Ferguson

At The Roasterie we firmly believe the only way to produce the world’s best coffee is by hiring the world’s most passionate coffee experts. That’s why we’ve added Jon Ferguson to The Roasterie team. Jon is The Roasterie’s newest Bean Hunter, and we can’t tell you how excited we are to have him on board. Besides being an expert in the coffee industry, he’s also an intensely passionate Bean Hunter with a work ethic to rival any Roasterie staff member.

From Cultural Anthropology to Coffee Mastery

Jon’s journey into the world of coffee started in an unexpected place: while studying for his degree in cultural anthropology.

“I have a degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Nebraska, but I wanted to get specific into agriculture,” Jon said. “I did a lot of community garden projects after I graduated from the university. I then applied to the Peace Corps and was sent to Honduras to work on agricultural projects. After I came back to the U.S. I opened up my own record store. It was pretty successful, but it wasn’t anthropology or agriculture-related. There’s really only one commodity that combines those with business: It’s coffee.”

Coffee Is About Community

As you may have noticed, coffee is more to Jon than just a delicious beverage to enjoy or keep him caffeinated. Coffee is really about taking a more thoughtful look at the world and working to benefit communities internationally.

“There are very specific flavor profiles to specific countries that trickle down to regions, then down to micro-lots and down even further,” Jon said. “If you lose a coffee-producing community, you lose a flavor profile. You can save an entire community by relating that to customers. It’s cultural retention in a way. These communities have the ability to express their situations through coffee.”

Jon’s passion for the people behind coffee is one of the reasons he’s excited to join The Roasterie, and why we feel so lucky to have him. The Roasterie works directly with coffee farmers to help them produce the world’s best coffee and to help them thrive. But that’s not the only reason Jon is excited to join The Roasterie.

Joining The Roasterie Family

“The Roasterie has been a leader in the specialty coffee movement in the Midwest since before I got started in the industry, so I always knew who they were,” Jon said. “I feel privileged to be a part of the team, especially working around people like Norman Killmon who has 45 years of coffee experience. It’s one of the best things about this position.”

Now that Jon has joined our Roasterie family, he’s ready to hit the ground running. He’s got some big ideas to help propel The Roasterie into the future – and we can’t wait!

“I’m entering at a very enthusiastic time. I’m excited for The Roasterie to grow even bigger and diversify,” Jon said. “For one, I would like to push harder on the reserve coffees and specialty things we do here at The Roasterie. I want to bring the high-end a little bit higher.”

On top of working on Roasterie coffee, Jon will also be taking the lead on reenergizing The Roasterie’s Coffee College.

“I just want to give [The Roasterie’s Coffee College] an update,” Jon said. “With the help of The Roasterie’s Simeon Bricker, we’ll give it a fresh makeover. We really want to engage the baristas to understand coffee and what makes a well-liked cup of coffee in our area.”

Want to learn more about Jon’s adventures with The Roasterie? Take a look at his recent bean hunt to Indonesia, with stops in Takengon, Lokop Sabun and Vietnam.

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