Meet Our Staff: Jacob Long
by Mischa Hedges, Communications Director
Meet Jacob Long, Thanksgiving Coffee Company’s Roastmaster & Director of Quality Control.
“Growing up, my dad was a commercial salmon fishermen in the Noyo Harbor. Roasted coffee was a familiar smell, as Thanksgiving Coffee’s roastery was just up the street from where my dad worked on the boat. Becoming a coffee roaster isn’t something I thought about as a kid. But, now that I’ve been doing it for 6 years, I think it’s an incredible opportunity to work in a small Northern California town and interact with people all over the world…for instance, today I might cup coffees from Sulawesi, Indonesia, or be in contact with our partners in Nicaragua.” – Jacob Long
Jacob Long began working with us in 2007, packaging coffees for restaurants and retail stores. He took an immediate liking to the cupping and roasting process, and began hanging out with our roasting team. Three months later, he became a cupper’s assistant and began his work in the roasting room. Today, he’s our Roastmaster & Director of Quality Control – overseeing the roasting and production team, cupping each roast to ensure it’s consistent, and selecting the very best coffees from farmers and cooperatives. His palate is exceptional – he has the ability to identify nuances in the cup that are undetectable by many.
“What I really love about roasting coffee is that there’s always something to look forward to. There’s new crop on its way, there’s the next roast profile to perfect…it’s an art and a science – just 1 degree of roasting, or 15-20 seconds can have a huge impact on the flavor. In order to get the best out of each coffee you’re constantly striving for perfection – it never gets boring,” says Jacob.
Last February, Jacob took his first trip to origin to meet the farmers and cooperatives we work with in Nicaragua and shared these thoughts:
“I felt like I knew the flavor of Nicaraguan coffees, but to see the faces behind those coffees created a deeper connection with the farmers. When I get samples in the mail now I think about all of the people I know that touched this coffee. I’d only seen photos of coffee processing and of the dry mills, but to see it in person it was larger than life – just miles and miles of coffee. I got to see how big a part coffee plays in the economy of a place like Nicaragua.
When cupping coffees at origin, I was able to calibrate my palate with the cooperative cuppers. It was great to find that, even though we were thousands of miles apart, we shared an appreciation and love of coffee.”
– Jacob Long