By Even Stevens Draper EC, Rachel Davidson
Good Coffee in SLC? Salt Lake City, Utah? I know what you’re thinking, isn’t that a double negative? The unknown, the forbidden fruit. Sure, that might have been true 15 years ago. But today in 2016, there is such a thing as a Utah coffee culture. The Projectionist, one of our local partners and whose coffee we sell at our Draper location, is a Utah coffee company that is flourishing.
The Projectionist started with an Eggnog latte. CEO of The Projectionist Austin Marticorena bought the caffeinated drink with money his mom gave him to purchase caffeine free eggnog at age 12. After that, he was officially hooked. He became more and more interested in the coffee world, reading The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee and learning about coffee farming processes, roasting profiles, and brewing techniques. Austin began by playing around roasting coffee beans on a perforated baking sheet in his oven. There was no “aha” moment when he decided that he wanted to turn his passion into a business, but rather an accumulation of little steps.
Austin met his Chief Culinary officer, Mike Declue in college through their fraternity Kappa Sigma. Austin needed someone with a really good palate and knowing Mike’s culinary background, asked him, “do you like coffee”? Mike’s response was an obvious, “Of course I do,” and the rest is history.
The Projectionist is a specialty high-quality coffee roaster. All of their products are extremely fresh. They try to sell their coffee within 3-5 days of roasting. As for the type of beans, they sample hundreds of different roasts before selecting the ones that they will carry. In 2016 they sampled over 40 roasts. “Coffee is super seasonal. When importers run out, we stop carrying it,” Austin says. Next on their rotation is coffee from Kenya, and a new Tanzania bean (One of Draper Even Steven’s favorites).
They also only buy roasts with a cupping score of 88 or above. For coffee newbies, the scores are out of 100. They explain that although light roasts are really trendy right now, that doesn’t mean they will not carry a dark roast if it has interesting flavors and notes.
Recently, the Projectionist decided to expand their business and open a coffee trailer. The trailer is set to debut this month at various Utah locations. Basically it will be a café on wheels. They will have everything from their classic pour overs and espresso, to one of their bestselling drinks the New Orleans: coffee brewed with chicory served with whole milk and simple syrup. The Projectionist trailer will also have their whole beans to buy as well as some pastries from Fillings and Immulsions.
Before the trailer launched the duo decided to rebrand their name and image. Previously named Cup and Cardigan they went through 300 names before settling on The Projectionist. According to the trendsetting duo, coffee goes through a very similar process as movies. “By the time it gets to us it is like a movie that is already made. It is beautiful,” Austin says, “It’s our job to finish up that process and make sure (the coffee) is how the farmers would want it to be.” Both of them have a lot of respect for coffee farmers and the time and skill it takes to grow and harvest the beans.
Every month, Even Stevens Draper will have two new roasts from The Projectionist. For March 2016 we have a Rwanda and a Tanzania roast. For $1.59 for a refillable cup, you can enjoy your cup of Joe while supporting local.
Austin and Mike suggest food pairings for their coffee. Mike says that the Tanzania roast would go perfectly with the French toast because of the fruity notes. While Austin says that the Columbian would go great with the Breakfast Sandwich because it has more traditional flavors.
“We want (the Even Stevens Customers) to know the coffee is taken care of. We meticulously taste everything before it reaches their lips. I hope that they can taste the difference,” Austin says.