Humans of coffee: Panos Chasapis

Who is  Panos  Chasapis?

He is a storyteller. He likes to tell stories (mainly fantastic).

He was born in Greece, lived in Switzerland for several years and today he writes you from Amsterdam where he lives.

He teaches his students to be in good contact with their feelings and to express themselves through painting, singing, playing, talking clearly and without shame.

Sometimes he fantasizes being «super Rufus» who eliminates fascism and drugs from the world by replacing fascists & drug dealers with manilas and coffee trees. Oh, what a beautiful world!

What is your favorite childhood memory?

For no bizarre reason, all my beautiful childhood memories are connected mainly with fragrances and plants. I remember every detail of the following scene.

I am hardly 9 years old.

It is summer, midday, just outside Nafplio (the most beautiful city in Greece!). The sea is dark blue and very rough… the wind blows hard and there is a scent of salt and reeds. My godfather has already made his famous American coffee and we have it along with some orange cake, together. We are on the veranda of his house away from the other adults. It’s the day my father’s summer holiday will officially begin. We expect him to come. He used to work a lot and he rarely spent his holidays with us. I stared at the iron gates looking out for his car to appear. My godfather poured coffee into our white cups and his pipe smoke mixed with the coffee smell. I loved his tobacco smell especially when it was fresh and wet inside his leather brown pouch and the words COLUMBUS  OHIO USA written on it. This pouch triggered my first interest in visiting America. I still remember my father’s grey Mercedes Benz… a model of 68, with brown leather seats and a gear lever on the steering wheel… going up the dusty garden road and stopping under the orange trees. I remember running to hug him. I remember him stretching/opening his arms and calling my name. His embrace always smelt basil. Because he always cut a small sprout of basil  from a pot near him and put it in his shirt pocket. That basil scent that came  from my father’s hug… the smell of the coffee and the smoke from my godfather’s pipe… and the smell of the sea at noon… Is everything that later defined my adult life, I guess… and my relationship with coffee.

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If you could have a do-over in life, what would you do differently?

I would like not to have daydreamed all the time, but to have acted more. I would like to have stopped thinking about dreams and targets and started planning and executing without fear and laziness. Immediately. Do you think it’s not too late for me to change?

What do you feel most proud of?

For many years I didn’t know what “being proud of something” meant. I had given this phrase a very selfish dimension and I avoided it. Today, I enjoy the notion of “self-centered” without any personal complex, I dare say that I am proud  of starting  psychotherapy eleven years ago and giving myself the opportunity of knowing me, understanding me, and probably accepting  me. Yes. I think I can flaunt it. Without this therapy I would never have learnt to love me. Therefore, I am proud of being able to love and hug.

If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?

Very spontaneously: my half marathon sport shoes because I love good food and I have to burn it, the “little life” by Hanya Yanagihara  (a hymn to friendship and love)  and my camera to photograph coffees , flowers… and little birds.

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What do you want your tombstone to say?

“Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker… Wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way ” (lyrics from my favorite “Moon River” Music by Henry Mancini, lyrics by Johnny Mercer) Yes I know… I am so retro…

What is @rufus_airlines?

@rufus_airlines & rufusailines.com (blog under construction) is a meeting platform. A place where photographers & poets , florists & musicians, experts of coffee and sweets, writers & instagrammers,  politicians & models we will meet. It is a dream which will take time work and patience to become true . A small globe which will host small birds searching for a shelter of inspiration and creativity.

What is your favorite kind of coffee?

When I’m home I prefer an Americano (new addiction: beans from Nicaragua, region Nueva Segovia) while definitely a cortado or espresso is always the best solution when I meet my friends in town. One day I want to learn to drink my coffee like the Italians: nattily, delightfully and with gratitude.

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Image by Maria Kennedy

In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?

In Buvette, in New York, with my latte… and waffle sunny-side egg, bacon & gruyère and an imaginary conversation with my favorite New Yorkers: Woody Allen, Francoise Mouly and Sarah Jessica Parker.

In my favorite Fragments in Paris with a cappuccino , a luscious iced lemon cake & the first insta story of the day.

In the Scandinavian Embassy in Amsterdam, 3 minutes’ walk from my place, with filter coffee and a porridge and all my  instagram birds around .

What does a perfect day look like?

I believe that every day could be perfect… but the following one would be magical: In Serifos island in Greece, one day in September, at 7 in the morning. A double Greek coffee, with milk and honey, on a marble table, at a balcony overlooking the Aegean sea. I am tasting the first sip of the coffee. On the radio, the voice of Meryl Streep announces that President Trump has resigned and has decided to move to Mexico and become a barista. Marine Le Pen leaves Paris and opens a café in her beloved Algeria. President Putin opens a gay bar with drag shows called “the rosy babushka”, in Chechnya, while the Jihadists color their own beards gold and decide to rebuild Aleppo in Syria right from the start, in order to make it the cultural capital of the planet. John Lennon and Chet Baker smiles happily at me from the nearby balcony. It is an incredible, unbelievable day!

Humans of coffee: Adam Goldberg

Who is Adam Goldberg?

I’m the editor in chief of Drift, a new coffee magazine you probably haven’t heard of. I’m from and currently live in New York with my girlfriend and Drift’s creative director, Daniela. My sister Elyssa, Drift’s Executive editor, also lives in the same building, so it’s a blast working together on a project we’re passionate about: Drift, a magazine about cities — their culture, architecture, and people — as seen through the lens of coffee.

I love to travel and learn new languages. That’s been the inspiration for Drift’s city-by-city focus. In my spare time I box and write home automation software for my apartment.. right now my coffee brews automatically when I wake up, lights dim when I watch TV, and turn off when I fall sleep. Although admittedly, sometimes lights still turn on in the middle of the night.

What is your best childhood memory?

When I was 13, I lived in Sichuan, China for a summer. My best friend from elementary school was from Chengdu and invited me back with him and his family. It was the first time I travelled outside my home country. Everything was so foreign, fresh and new — the sounds, the smells, the tastes — I was hooked. I gained 15 lbs that summer and came back a pudgy teenager–but it was well-worth it!

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If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?

I took a year off from Columbia during my sophomore and junior years to do a startup. It was a predecessor to Facebook called CampusNetwork. We launched 6-months before Facebook and 80% of the Columbia student body was online in 3-weeks. At that time, I was student body president and coded the website as a way to connect students–I didn’t think about profiting from it, turning it into a business. About 6-months later Mark launched Facebook at Harvard and experienced similar growth. But then he launched to other schools very quickly. By the time we had 200k users, Facebook had 2M but because of the network effects, it was too difficult to catch up. Mark offered me the chance to close CampusNetwork and come out to work at Facebook–I would have been the 5th employee or something. I don’t regret turning down that opportunity; I regret not launching a simplified version of my site to other schools more quickly. but, it’s an honor to have played a part in the early history of social networks.

What do you feel most proud of?

I studied Spanish in high school and college and after all that time I still sounded like a 2-year old. I didn’t want to be the guy who loved to travel but could only spoke one language well. After college, I made a serious effort to learn French and Spanish. I lived with guest families in Buenos Aires and Paris for 4 years. I then moved to Puebla, Mexico for another 3 years. In 2013, I gave an all-Spanish presentation to a Mexican audience at the Mesamerica chefs conference. That was really rewarding.

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If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be and why?

Assuming I already have access to clothes, food, and water… I would keep my iPhone, a coffee brewing kit, and a great pair of headphones. It’s amazing to me that we now have all of human knowledge accessible to us at any moment in a hand-held device–this wasn’t really possible 10 years ago. But sometimes I like to disconnect, and listening to music while drinking great coffee is a great way to do that, hence the brewing kit and headphones.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

A date very, very, far from today.

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What is Drift Mag?

Coffee is this ubiquitous beverage that’s permeated all aspects of our lives, from sitting on the table during some of the most important events in history to bringing old friends together. We’re fascinated by this. There are so many ways one can get to know a city, and this seemed really interesting. So, Drift is a way to get to know a city — its history and people — by diving deep into its coffee scene.

What’s your favorite kind of coffee, brew method or coffee origin?

I like brewed coffee–it’s what I make at home every morning. I go back-and-forth between methods; right now it’s a Kalita. I like that it takes me awhile to finish a cup; it’s a big part of my morning routine. I really like the acidity in Ethiopian coffees, just have to be careful that it’s balanced. That’s the challenge every morning, really, but it’s so rewarding when it comes out right.

In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?

In New York, that would be Parlor CoffeeTwo Hands, or Sweetleaf, although I just discovered a new shop that opened around the corner from me in a subway station called Voyager. With the right tools, it’s not too difficult to make great brewed coffee at home, so when I go to a coffee shop, the environment becomes important.

What does a perfect day look like?

I’m not sure there is such thing as a perfect day. But most of my best days start with a great cup of coffee, are loaded with challenges, and end with a quiet dinner with my girlfriend.

How about some coffee in New York?

“Welcome to New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do.”

These words perfectly describe New York. Perfectly describe the coffee scene. Perfectly describe the people there. I have had the massive privilege of travelling to the amazing New York City twice in the past six months. I have experienced, seen and tasted so much awesomeness that it only seems fair that I share such experiences with you. If you are a coffee lover, love experiences and want to know where to get the best cup in the Big Apple, then this article is for you.

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Café Grumpy

I first want to preface this article by telling you what the coffee scene is like in this City. One word comes to mind: explosive. Absolutely explosive. I was in the city for over three weeks and every day I made it my mission to visit at least two to three stores a day.

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Devociòn

I wanted to meet baristas, I wanted them to make and tell me about their coffee and take some nice pictures on the side so that I could then share it with you. I never ran out of new speciality coffee shops to visit. Not once.

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Birch

And what struck me even more than the fact that there was a copious amount of speciality shops, was the barista’s passion for what they do. Funny enough, contrary to popular belief, many (if not the majority) of the baristas cannot earn enough money making coffee, or as I like to say “baristing.” So they have two jobs: one that pays the bills and the other – making coffee. Flip, New Yorkers chase their dreams with all their heart. I love that. I adore that. I think we should all be like that. It was not uncommon for me to walk into a store and once I had been served, they used their “lull” time to prep for the upcoming USA Barista Championships. Their attitude: work a job that pays the bills, make coffee and train to become better. Of course you will find some of the best coffee in the world here. Yes, I do think that baristas should be able to make a living “baristing,” but that is another topic on it’s own. For now, here are my top 3 spots from all the stores I visited:

* Disclaimer: When I list “best coffee,” it might be the barista’s suggestion that I enjoyed or the type of coffee I felt like on the day. Either way, it is a biased, subjective opinion, which you should ignore if you want to have something else 🙂

Everyman Espresso

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Everyman Espresso
  • Best drink: One & One using the Burundi bean / pour over made with their Apollo bean
  • Mood: Relaxed, warm and very welcoming
  • Address: 301 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

Everyman Espresso is honestly some of the finest coffee you will find in Manhattan. I have been to this store at least 10 times and have literally never been disappointed. It would be an honour to work here as a barista.

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Everyman Espresso

It is a small, clean and well-designed store. There are normally two baristas on duty and you will most likely encounter either Sam or Stephan (who have recently just competed to qualify for the USA Barista Championship and the World Cup Tasters Championship respectively). Counter Coffee is served here and I really liked the “one and one.” Not one-on-one… one and one. This is simply a shot of espresso AND a cortado served together. I had this drink made with the Burundi bean that they had in store, but if they suggest having the Apollo bean, have it, it’s also good. If you have the time, also ask the baristas all the questions that you have been dying to ask, they are super knowledgeable and willing to chat coffee always.

Supercrown Roasters

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Supercrown Roasters
  • Best drink: Batch brew drip coffee / Cortado (Ask for their single origin bean)
  • Mood: Modern, clean, vibey
  • Address: 8 Wilson Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Clean, white, spacious with a beautiful aroma of freshly ground coffee filling every corner of the the space. My husband and I stayed in Bushwick during this trip and about 5 minutes from our AirBnB was this lovely coffee shop, that at first, I was a bit sceptical about. To my surprise, the coffee was phenomenal.

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Supercrown Roasters

Katie and Mike were the two people that served me coffee at Supercrown Roasters nearly every day on our walk to the Metro. I would alternate between a drip coffee or an espresso based coffee, and both added value to my morning routine. This coffee shop has been featured on Zagat as one of the 9 hottest coffee shops in NYC, which is quite an achievement.

Little Collins

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Little Collins
  • Best Drink: Double ristretto shot cortado
  • Mood: Bustling, cosy and warm.
  • Address: 667 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10022

A lawyer, by profession, moves to the Big Apple from Aussie to pursue and build up his career as a lawyer and eventually quits. Why? Because he is passionate about coffee. So then? He opens up his own coffee shop called “Little Collins.”

You must go here. I am at a loss for words when it comes to trying describe this shop because it is super unique and you need to be in the store, in the heart of NYC, to experience it. What I can say is that every barista in this store loves what they do and will make you a great cup. They have a Modbar in store and seeing this in person was a beautiful experience. Modbars are “relatively” new and comes with some hiccups, which I think will be ironed out in about 3 years or so, but this didn’t stop the baristas from working their magic. Counter Culture beans are also served here and my suggest would be to ask the barista what they feel like making you. The owner is usually in store. If you see him, chat to him. He is quite the inspiration.

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Little Collins

Other coffee shops that I have experienced, and which are a must try also include:

Just type them in on Google maps and you can get there easily.

I could give extensive reviews about each place, but simplicity is better. You simply need to visit these places. Simply enjoy the aesthetics, conversation and coffee. Simply have a blast.

Until we meet again, let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York.

This post & photography by Shan Venter. Shan is a Pretoria based twenty something, with tons of energy and passion. She quit her job as a teacher to pursue a career in coffee. She’s currently working for Tribeca as a trainer for their baristas. She loves being a wife, teaching, traveling, and all things coffee.

Humans of coffee: Michael Phillips

Who is Michael Phillips?

A midwesterner at heart no matter how much he travels.  I like hard work, fairness and people that are more considerate than self-interested.

What’s your best childhood memory?

My childhood home was two stories and my room was on the second floor.  I had a hot wheels track that on the weekends I would set up to go down the stairs to the first floor.  Working with all the different parts and finding news ways to set it up was one of my favorite things.

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If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?

Hard to say anything on this one.  I have made a ton of mistakes but I learned lessons from every single one and it is whats made me the person I am today which is a person I am pretty happy with all things said and done.

What do you feel most proud of?

I am most proud of keeping pace with the group of friends that I have.  There are so many people in my life that I established a relationship with when we were both just scrapping to get by. Fast forward several years of being there for each other, working together, not working together, moving and all the rest and some how I ended up with a network of friends around the world who are amazing people in their work and their ethics.  I truly believe the company you keep says a lot about you and my friends make me feel good about what that statement is.

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This image originally appeared here

If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?

1. My old BMW motorcycle because there are few times I am happier than when I am riding down a highway on it.

2. My everyday carry knife because it’s kind of invaluable to me.

3. My wolverine 1000 mile boots because a good pair of boots should last you a life time and these have been everywhere with me so far so why not finish it out with them as well…

What would you want your tombstone to say?

What a ride…

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Image by Queenie

What is Blue Bottle?

Blue Bottle is a progressive specialty coffee company that is pushing the edge of deliciousness, hospitality and sustainability.  We have 25 stores currently and are working on a whole slew more for next year in several US markets and Japan as well.  I put most of my efforts into the training program and making sure we have the industry gold standard for professional development tracks for anyone looking to be in the industry.

What’s your favorite kind of coffee?

I think having a favorite kind of either is a little silly.  What I love about coffee is the variety of experiences it can offer in terms of flavor and ritual.

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This image originally appeared here

In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?

The Arts District Blue Bottle is easily my second home and where you are most likely to find me in LA, the Berry st Blue Bottle in New York, the Aoyama Blue Bottle in Tokyo and the Webster street blue bottle in the Bay area.

What does a perfect day look like?

I get to sleep in (just a little, not too much) I head out for some Yoga, come home and make a huge wonderful breakfast for me and some friends complete with cappuccinos all around.  I clean up and go out for a long motorcycle ride up Angeles crest.  Have an in n out burger for late lunch.  Head over to my friend Tyler’s house where he cooks up something amazing for a big group of us and then head out with a bunch of friends to go dancing to some funk music.  Maybe wrap it up with a trip somewhere for gelato after.

Cover image by Americano Mondays