At Case Study Coffee, everything is made with love, intention, and care. Alongside the unique drive to remain DIY, handmade, and local, Case Study Coffee thrives by maintaining direct relationships with many people in the greater coffee industry. One such long-term relationship is with Emily and Michael McIntyre – cofounders of Catalyst Coffee Consulting.
(Emily and Michael McIntyre on site at Bombe washing station)
Emily and Michael started Catalyst Coffee Consulting in 2013, having known each other from their roots in Kansas City. Not long after, they moved to the West coast with hearts full of passion. They both started as baristas; Michael now roasts coffee and runs quality control, and Emily quickly found herself in a position of coffee marketing and writing. Now, they are living out their dream, using their skills to contribute to humanitarian efforts and quality control within the coffee scene.
“I still clearly remember the day we kind of sat down and established our goal – which hasn’t changed” – as Emily explains the beginning of it all – “it’s been 7 years and it hasn’t changed. We want to be part of the lever that shifts the coffee industry as a whole toward more equable trading, more wealth trickling down, and quality of life – as well as a higher focus on quality and excellence in coffee.” – Emily smiles, adding, “Our other goal is to basically work as a family in origin a large portion of each year.” Their daughter Eire recently had her fifth birthday in Ethiopia on a family work trip.
(Emily, Michael, and Eire McIntyre)
Catalyst Coffee Consulting encompasses a wealth of services: agronomy practices (soil management/crop production), quality control, data collection, sales, and maintaining deep-rooted relationships in Ethiopia. Originally, Catalyst also worked with a number of countries in Latin America. However, Catalyst now works exclusively with Ethiopian coffee farms. “Basically, of all the origins we worked in, we have seen that the doors are most open to us in Ethiopia to make the kind of impact that we want to make.”
( Emily & Harari coffee farmer Shemsi T’una)
Catalyst is proud to say that they work closely with Dominion Trading, an importing/trading company based in the US working exclusively in Ethiopia. “Dominion Trading has been an incredible partner to us. They’ve always specialized in Ethiopian coffee; they’re very integrated in the culture there. So we were gifted the chance to learn Ethiopian culture through the lens of these established relationships.”
( Sidama village)
Having worked for Case Study Coffee prior to their venture at Catalyst, Emily’s got a great grasp of Case Study’s culture. “And Michael of course has been paying attention to and cupping Case Study coffees for a long time. I think between us, we really do understand what Case Study wants,” Emily expresses with excitement.
Emily met Wes and Christine while writing an article for Eater Portland upon the opening of the Alberta location. “When I started working for Case Study, it was a challenging time in our personal lives. Through a series of circumstances, we had ended up really not knowing where to turn job-wise. The same day that that happened -- Chris called and offered me a job. And I took it as sort of a sign.” For about 8 months, Emily helped with marketing and projects, growing closer with the owners as well as helping grow the business.
“I just think it’s a huge testimony to Wes and Chris’ humanity and kindness as humans, that they were able to let me transition from their employee, a trusted employee in a position of trust, to doing my own thing. Not only that, that they actually take me seriously in the new thing!” Emily recounts fondly. “They’ve listened, they’ve watched, they’ve said, ‘What are you doing now? How can we support you?’ I mean, that’s real friendship, and that’s real partnership.”
Case Study is proud to say that we will be getting most of our future Ethiopian coffees through Catalyst Coffee Consulting. We have been serving coffee from the Qonqona Mill in Ethiopia as part of our Deviation blend, and Cold Brew blend -- and starting next week it will be available as a single origin coffee!
This week, thanks to Emily and Michael, we had the delight of being able to meet the owners and producers of the Qonqona Mill from Sidama, Ethopia! Mill owner Assefa Dukamo and his family (who work alongside him in Sidama) had a chance to taste our roast of their coffee in all three forms: as a single origin brewed coffee, as Deviation Blend espresso, and our Deviation Blend cold brew.
(Kenean Dukamo, son of Assefa, and Emily McIntyre)
(Left to Right: Christine Herman, Michael McIntyre, Kenean Dukamo, Assefa Dukamo)
(Assefa Dukamo, owner of Qonqona washing station, Keramo washing station, and Shantawene washing station/farm in Sidama, Ethiopia)
(Mulegeta Dukamo, stakeholder in Qonqona Mill/oversees projects in Sidama)
(Emily McIntyre visiting with the producers)
(Left to Right: back; Christine Herman, Tsegenish (wife of Assefa and professional coffee cupper), Assefa Dukamo, Mulegeta Dukamo, Kenean Dukamo, Gussa (friend of Assefa, lives in US) front; Troy Ramsey, Michael McIntrye, Emily McIntyre.)
We could not be more proud of our partnership with Emily and Michael McIntyre. Cheers to more years of meaningful friendships!
(Left to Right: Michael, Zelalem Girma (our Ethiopia-based Relationships Director), Emily, washing station assistant.)
(All Catalyst Coffee Consulting photos curtesy of Emily McIntyre; Case Study photos by Eirinn Gragson)