By Kendall Fisher, executive producer at Grow Wire
There are few things better than a good cup of coffee to get the morning going, or returning to the homey, little coffee shop that always takes you in when you need it most, or experiencing a new cup in a city you’ve never visited, watching all the locals make themselves at home and envisioning what your life would feel like sipping from their mug.
These are the things that encouraged Scott Rao to dive into a career and, really, a life dedicated to coffee.
Rao is a coffee consultant and three-time author of The Professional Barista's Handbook, Everything but Espresso and The Coffee Roaster's Companion. He’s opened several successful coffee shops not only in the States but also abroad, and he’s what some may call THE coffee guru.
Needless to say, we were exceptionally excited to welcome Rao on this episode of the “Grow Wire Podcast.” He breaks down every stage of the coffee making process and why each is imperative to creating a great cup of coffee—from the differences in harvesting regions to natural and washed processing methods to the art and science of roasting and brewing (he’s a bigger fan of batch brewing than pour overs, FYI). He also talks about the role that data plays--along with your own subjective taste buds--in the endeavor to make great coffee.
Rao also dives into his history with coffee, taking us back to his college coffee shop at UCLA where he studied physics (yes, we touch on the science behind coffee making, too) and how that experience inspired him to build one of the busiest coffee shops in the U.S., outperforming Starbucks in a small town in Massachusetts. He regaled us with some incredible stories about starting a small business in a small town, dealing with an unfamiliar community and about his experiences with one strangely inspiring customer.
Rao provides advice for people looking to brew a great cup of coffee at home, including his favorite unorthodox suggestion, and he reveals his No.1 standard in seeking out a new coffee shop—a standard that might surprise you.
Whether you’re a coffee enthusiast or you simply enjoy hearing fascinating stories, you most certainly need to tune in to this episode! Listen to the full podcast episode on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud and YouTube.