Director of Education + Coffee Educator
Building on over 15 years of experience in the coffee industry, Lauren bridges the gap from Roaster to Retailer.
Lauren’s coffee career began as a barista at her college café, where she developed a love for the hustle of a morning rush and the strong community connections that are built over cups of coffee. After graduating, she relocated to Portland and joined the team at Public Domain Coffee, the specialty storefront and 3rd wave showroom for local large roaster Coffee Bean International. As a member of the crew at Public Domain, Lauren was trained on sample roasting, roast profiling, blend building, and participated in daily cuppings. After supporting her coworkers at regional competitions, Lauren competed at the Northwest Barista Competitions in 2011 and 2012. She went on to place 5th in the region and qualify for the National Barista Competition.
After competing with an incredible pacamara coffee grown by the Menedez family from El Salvador, the producer invited her to visit their farm and see the farms her espresso came from. While in El Salvador, she had the opportunity to train a team of baristas with the help of a Spanish-speaking translator, igniting a spark for coffee education that would continue to today.
Back in Portland, Lauren began building a new training program at Public Domain, eventually taking over as the Lead Trainer and Assistant Manager, and preparing other baristas for competition. She served as a Judge for the US Barista Championship that same year, building her sensory and evaluation skills and bringing that keen eye and palate back to the cafe.
Lauren then moved to the well-established specialty roaster Portland Roasting Coffee, joining their training team as a Coffee Educator. Over the next 4 years at Portland Roasting, Lauren would help expand their Retail Training program and assist as they built their cafe presence in the city from 1 to 5 cafes, training and supporting over 160 baristas during her time there. She also helped certify their SCA Training Campus, traveled across the country and internationally to represent the company at competitions and trade shows, and facilitated hundreds of wholesale coffee trainings.
Lauren’s credentials include:
- Authorized SCA Trainer and Level 2 Barista Guild Certificate Holder
- World Barista Competition Sensory Judge
- World Brewers Cup Judge
- United States Barista Competition Head Judge
- US Barista Competitions Committee Chairperson
- US Coffee Champs Committee Member
- Pacific Barista Series Specialty Coffee Advisory Board Member
- Coffee Fest Education Advisory Board Member
Lauren is excited to bring her knowledge and experience to the team here at Mill City. As a life-long learner, she approaches all of her hobbies as opportunities to turn theories into tangible results.
Coffee Roaster + Educator
Bryant has been in the coffee industry since 2011. His experience ranges from retail cafe management to production roasting, green buying, and multiple origin trips.
In 2013 he started at Dogwood Coffee in Minneapolis as a barista and later moved into a management role. By 2015 he had the opportunity to become a production roaster. It wasn’t all smooth sailing in the beginning, but after a year of production roasting, he gained a new comfort with profiling green coffees.
As a production roaster he managed more than 2500lbs of green coffee weekly, roasting every day. He oversaw wholesale customer communications, packing material inventory, and shipping logistics. His first roaster was a Probat G25 modified to have variable gas adjustment and coupled with a Probat BRZ 2 until 2017 when Dogwood upgraded to a 30KG Mill City and 500g sample roaster.
In 2017 Bryant started managing green coffee inventory, sourcing new greens, building importer connections and contracting coffees, building coffee blends for consistency across harvest seasons, and learning freight logistics by working with green coffee warehouse locations on both coasts. Green coffee management meant over one hundred 60-70KG bags moving through the roastery monthly. This was on top of the production roasting schedule.
Added responsibilities meant the need for additional help. He took on an apprentice and trained them as a production roaster on the Mill City 30KG. This opened more time to host coffee cuppings for staff, talk about origin, focus on quality control, and more.
In 2019 he had his first origin trips to Peru, Ethiopia, and Kenya which only helped deepen his understanding and appreciation of the coffee supply chain.
Bryant moved to Mill City in December of 2020 just in time for the New Year where he now helps with Roasting and Education. Bryant is the head roaster for Mill City’s Toll Roasting Program and sources coffees for our greens inventory and Toll Roasting customers. He assists our tech support team by guiding new roaster customers through their seasoning roast alongs, and teaches group and private classes.
Bryant’s roasting experience includes:
- Production roasting 2200+ lbs/week
- Inventory management of 16,000lbs green coffee monthly
- Origin trips to Peru, Ethiopia, Kenya
- Managing 3 annual blends and 2 seasonal blends for consistency and freshness
- Sourcing across 10 different origins for seasonality and freshness through forward contracting and spot buying for single origin and blending options
- Education for staff on new coffees and hosting public cuppings
- Training production roasters
- Wholesale customer communications and management
- Two years of roasters guild attendance
Bryant has experience on the following roasters:
30GK, 20KG, 6KG, 3KG Digital, 2KG Digital, 500G
G25 and BRZ2