SEASON 2: EPISODE NUMBER: 18

EPISODE GUEST: Ben Alleman

“I realized that I could change somebody’s day because I’m the first person they’re speaking to, most likely.” Magnolia Coffee Co Production Manager, Ben Alleman, got into the coffee scene because he wanted a change from the restaurant industry. He quickly fell in love with what he calls the ‘counter-culture.’

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“I realized that I could change somebody’s day because I’m the first person they’re speaking to, most likely.” Magnolia Coffee Co’s Production Manager, Ben Alleman, got into the coffee scene because he wanted a change from the restaurant industry. He quickly fell in love with what he calls the ‘counter-culture.’

And working with coffee isn’t too dissimilar from the culinary scene. “There’s a little bit of science, culinary, bartending,” says Alleman. “It’s culinary on multiple levels because we’re starting with an agricultural product.”

With more than a decade’s worth of experience in the industry, Alleman still feels he’s learning all the time with the many variables that come with coffee. From learning the machinery to the different brewing techniques, “It’s constant evolution and learning process.”

Not unlike wine, coffee’s quality is determined by climate, elevation, soil, weather conditions, and how the beans are dried and cared for before they come to Magnolia in their green form. There are worldwide barista competitions from brewing the best cup and distinguishing the different roasts similarly to a sommelier. Some of the finest tuned palettes can pick out the region, elevation, and variety

When Alleman began his career in coffee, he scoffed at the idea of being able to discern the different beans. “There’s no way you can look at that bean and tell me it’s an Ethiopian,” says Alleman. “I can do it from across the room now. it’s just a thing you learn over time.”

Magnolia’s goal is to make the top 3-5% of coffee accessible to the everyday coffee drinker. While Alleman himself hasn’t gone to the origin spots of the coffee, Magnolia’s owner has traveled extensively to the different growing regions.

But even with the best beans, it always comes back to that counter culture and the barista behind the bar. Alleman says the best response to a first sip is when someone says, ‘Wow, I don’t need to put anything in this!’

Says Alleman, “You can really change somebody with a really good cup of coffee.”

“You can really change somebody with a really good cup of coffee.”

– Ben Alleman, Magnolia Coffee Co

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