Name and Role: Jen Hurd West Coast Regional Partnership Manager for Genuine Origin
Experience: 18 Years – I started in the dark ages, in the late 90’s of coffee and I made real bad coffee for a long time.
Working for Genuine Origin: …the last two years I spent as a trainer and a consultant helping people open coffee shops and coffee roasters. One of my biggest complaints was that I didn’t feel like anyone taught you how to source coffee or how to make it approachable and easy, which is why this job really appealed to me. Because there is no minimum there is no contract, you go on the website and can buy one box of coffee… Everyone has access to the coffee, it doesn’t matter if you roast 1000 lbs a year or 2 million lbs a year, so you get the same info and the same quality.
Take us through your coffee journey: I started out as a barista and I did that and was a retail manager for about 8 years and ended up going to work for the roaster that I was a wholesale customer of and managed one of their stores and then when I moved up to Portland, I started out doing route sales for a roaster and ended up building business enough to write myself a job as sales manager and was with them for almost 8 years. I spent the last 2 years with an education consulting group that helps people open coffee shops and I was a trainer and a consultant and managed all of our consulting work. And we would help anywhere from 12 to 24 people every month who wanted to get into the coffee business.
What keeps you in coffee: Mostly its people. There’s always an opportunity to meet new people and to learn from them because I think coffee is such an industry of variability. There are so many different ways to do things. And that was the thing with this job, it was an opportunity to be involved in a part of the industry I hadn’t done before. I’d never been a buyer or a roaster and so I get to learn about this end of the business and see the work we do at origin was really really exciting.
Getting more involved in the coffee community outside of work: I also love to give back to the community that’s why I’m on the board for the Oregon Coffee Board, its why anytime I get asked to judge something, I say “yes” because I want to help other people through this industry and help them grow and also learn from them and make all of our industry better.
Something in coffee that is not for you: French presses…unless you filter it through something else, it’s not my first choice. A little too much sediment, flattens things out a little too much. Other than that the big thing is I’m just not that excited about latte art, I love it as an indicator of milk texture, but I’m just not creatively wired…
What haven’t you tried in coffee that you’d like to check out: I am just barely learning about roasting and I have a lot of friends who are willing to spend time with me on that and that is a thing that I always understood as a big conceptual thing but I didn’t really get all the details and approach of and as I’ve gotten to learn a little bit more, it’s something I actually got really excited about in a way I didn’t expect. Dialing in espresso is one of my favorite things to do and I realized roasting is like that, but with 400 more variables to manage. And I love the “if, then” kind of process that you do with that and so I would love to learn more about roasting.
Portland plug: If you’re into more than coffee, we also have great food and beverage and wineries and distilleries and if there’s something food or beverage wise you’re really into, somebody in Portland and Oregon does it really really well.
Shout-outs: Shout-outs: Oh my goodness!! Some of my dear friends RoseLine and Junior’s and Guilder and also Reno has just been really welcoming and awesome, the people have been so incredible and it is a community where everybody knows everybody and has cool things to say about one another and that has been awesome.