In 1995 I found myself quickly uprooted from upstate New York to Nairobi, Kenya. My parents had become missionaries and that decision quickly changed my life. I moved into a boarding school in Kijabe, Kenya. I learned to play rugby. I learned to speak Swahili. But most importantly I learned I loved African coffee.
In 1998 I moved to Seattle, Washington. For three years I grew as a barista and developed lifelong friendships at Cafe Celebrazione near Seattle's downtown core. Kuma, our perfect dog at the Seattle Shelter, chose us. This ball of fur that had taken over our lives seemed a perfect moniker for a burgeoning business.
In 2007 I started a small hobby business in which I roasted only a few pounds at a time for friends, local grocery stores and farmers markets.
By 2009 we purchased our dream roasting equipment. We stumbled across a vintage Probat L12 and vintage Probat sample roaster.
I make it a point to have a personal relationship with each one of my clients and those I purchase coffee from. My relationships with farmers at origin are essential to Kuma Coffee's success. I have been privileged enough to carry some of the finest microlots. Premiums paid to farmers have improved harvests and the community for their pickers. Relationships with farmers have allowed me to better understand the process from start to finish and to possess a greater appreciation for the product at each stage.
Each day is a new lesson learned and new concepts are foraged.
Mark Barany, Roastmaster