Get To Know Us- Equator Associate Coffee Buyer & Licensed Q Grader

Equator Coffees is made up of unique and passionate individuals.  In the latest installment of our, Get To Know Us series we introduce you to one of our Coffee Buyers and Licensed Q Grader, Nate Breckenridge.

Nate is part of our coffee buying team that travel around the globe sourcing incredible coffees, (editor note- he happens to be Colombia now!) as well as cup and evaluates new coffees every day at our Roastery. If you are enjoying a cup of Equator coffee, there is a chance that Nate knows the producer that picked those cherries.  We chatted with Nate to learn the behind the scenes of how he became a coffee buyer and what is a licensed Q Grader?

1. What is your job at Equator Coffees?

I am Equator's Associate Coffee Buyer and licensed Q Grader, though my role is beginning to evolve. I oversee our green coffee inventory, aid in coffee procurement and do a lot of quality assurance and quality control.  I have also enjoyed taking on more of an education role and helping others on our roasting team develop their coffee palettes and grow on their journey in coffee, which has been rewarding! Additionally, I am fortunate to get to travel internationally on behalf of Equator and develop relationships with producers.  More so than anything else- I taste a lot of coffee. Every. Single. Day! 

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2. Where did you get your start?

My career in coffee began right here at Equator in 2010. I was in culinary school and was in need of a job and my two roommates at the time both worked at Equator (including Robbie Barry, who is still with Equator as our Facilities Maintenance Supervisor).  At the time I knew nothing about coffee and didn't even drink it much, but it quickly grew on me. As a kid, I remember one of my favorite smells being the roasted coffee that my mom would bring home from our local grocery. In second grade for a class show and tell actually, I stapled a bag of coffee grounds to my presentation board, never imagining that coffee would become my career.

3. What is a typical day like for you?

A typical day for me can be unpredictable except one constant- that I am always tasting a lot of coffee! Each day I prioritize the things that need to be completed and do my best to work down the list. One day I could be on our sample roaster and cupping most of the day, whereas on others I could be researching and writing about coffees or doing training and education with members of the roasting team. I'm fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn a lot of different things at Equator so what I do each day throughout a given week changes.

4. Why do you love working in the coffee industry?

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What I love about working in the coffee industry most is the people. I believe there is a real effort to do good within the industry which is a reflection of the people that make it up. Some of the most memorable experiences I've had have been on the trips I've taken to meet with producers -- their level of humility and generosity is unlike anything else I've experienced.  With climate change, Roya and all the other challenges the coffee industry faces right now is a pivotal time in coffee's future. There is so much amazing work being done, and it's exciting to work for an innovative roaster like Equator.

Cheers,
Nate Breckenridge
Associate Coffee Buyer & Licensed Q Grader
Equator Coffees & Teas