Uses This

1279 interviews since 2009

A picture of James Freeman

James Freeman

Founder, Blue Bottle Coffee

in coffee, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

I opened Blue Bottle coffee in August of 2002. I'm married to Caitlin Freeman, and father of Dashiell Freeman (age 7). I cup a lot of coffee, drink even more coffee, talk to my colleagues at Blue Bottle, drive around to meetings, cook dinner, and puzzle over surprisingly opaque second grade homework assignments. I have to sign things, too. I just signed a lease to open a cafe in Rockefeller Center in Manhattan.

What hardware do you use?

Espresso at home - mid 1970s one group San Marco Leva, plumbed in, 110v. Vaneli's Roma grinder (discontinued model predating their "e" version) with 50mm flat burrs. Not Stepless. Brewed coffee - I usually make pourover at home: one-hole Bonmac dripper, Kenaf filters, AWS gram scale, Takahiro .5 liter kettle, Porlex hand grinder, and drink from a Hario HGT-3 glass. I usually like a pretty tight brewing ratio - around 10-1 (ml of water to grams of coffee), with a 3-4 minute total brewing time. Yes, this is a controlling way to make and drink coffee. I'm fine with that.

Since this is a tech blog, I feel compelled to mention that I am typing this on a Macbook (the black kind), and when I travel I have an iPad that does almost anything I require a computer to do. Which is to say: not a whole lot beyond answering email, and other internetty things.

And what software?

Today - my espresso was our Serra do bone (Brazil) that we just released. Lovely on the San Marco as a cappuch or an espresso.

Since I was working at home most of the day, I made and drank pourovers of two sample-roasted pre ships (which is a sample of a coffee we have sourced and purchased, but which has not arrived in its entirety) of directly sourced coffees that I am very excited about:

  1. A micro lot from an Aida Battle-managed project in El Salvador - El Mahjual.
  2. A micro lot from the Ka'u region of Kona, Hawaii from Rusty's Hawaiian. They are growing beautiful coffees and really changing a lot of peoples opinions about Hawaiian coffee.

What would be your dream setup?

I feel fortunate that, in terms of hardware, my aspirations are beneath my accomplishments. I would have to think long and hard to change my current coffee gear one iota.