SPOKANE, Wash.--Roast House Coffee located in north Spokane received the Good Food Award for best roasted coffee in the nation, beating out hundreds of other roasters.
The guy behind the award winning roast is 21 years old. He got his start roasting coffee in his dorm room while a student at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Aaron Jordan initially wanted to pursue biblical studies, but soon his hobby of roasting coffee became his real passion.
"I took off the closet doors in my dorm room, laid them across two mini-fridges and had my roaster, my grinder and everything I needed," said Jordan.
He was known for roasting coffee using a popcorn popper.
"It just convectional movement of hot-air like for popcorn but for coffee instead," said Jordan.
Jordan admitted there were plenty of complaints about the smell it created, but those same people also came to him late at night to get fresh made coffee, one of them was even the dean of the school before shutting down his operation. Jordan moved to Spokane and inquired at Roast House about the possibility of a job. Owner Deborah DiBernardo said at the time she was very reluctant and not impressed by his popcorn roast sample.
"I thought 'No way in heck ever!' I might let him bag coffee but I'm not letting him touch that roaster," said DiBernardo.
At first Jordan was assigned to work under the direction of the lead roaster at the time, but eventually DiBernardo began to realize his true talent.
"It became obvious pretty quick that he had a natural ability and it was kind of intuitive for him," said DiBernardo.
Soon Jordan took the lead and DiBernardo hired him full time as her roaster, and when the Good Food Awards came around they decided to take a shot at it.
DiBernardo said they randomly selected a bag of Guatemalan beans from the warehouse and sent them in not knowing what to expect. It did not take long before they found out those beans were selected as finalists, and then came the email announcing that they had won.
DiBernardo said she screamed with excitement, punching the air in disbelief. Jordan said he was not overwhelmed with much emotion, but definitely felt humbled by the announcement.
Roast House prides itself on purchasing only organic beans from shade-grown farm-to-cup sustainable farms. He said they are committed to Fair Trade and supporting local communities. Their coffee is served throughout Spokane at places like Chairs Coffee, Atticus Coffee and Beacon Hill Catering among many others.
DiBernardo said she is "committed to the local community in Spokane," and Jordan said he "is always tweaking, always trying news things."