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Now Tectonic Coffee

27/07/2018

Hi there,

You might be wondering…why the change?

Thanks to the support of this community, Take Flight Coffee has been an immense success from day one. We’re fortunate to have the most amazing partners serving our coffee and, in our short 2 years of business, Take Flight has garnered an impressive list of accolades. Beyond that, our sales have grown at a breakneck pace with this year’s numbers quickly eclipsing our 2017 figures in the first few months.

This rapid success is not taken for granted; we’re sincerely grateful to all who have supported us and in order to honor your partnership, we decided it was imperative that we take a step back and recommit to our values.   We want to share our coffee with a wider audience and lead the industry by emphasizing transparency, quality, and honesty through our company. We’ve been great at accomplishing this mission in our immediate footprint, but by no means should we stop and rest on our laurels when there is more we can do.

So in the third quarter of last year I started to think outside of the box and considered what would get us up and over into “the next level?” How can we reach more people while at the same time provide more personality and insight into what we do?

I began talking to the owner of Thought Foundry Ventures, a digital innovations company based here in LA. We spoke about the challenges of reaching an audience outside of our footprint without actually meeting them – all while maintaining our vision of providing personalized service. Last year after an exploration of big ideas, we eventually decided to join forces. It’s a move to reform the company and make the brand’s identity more appealing, exciting, and altogether more familiar.

Tectonic Coffee Company
First orders launch August 13

The name is one part a wink to our California heritage, one part a nod to technology, and one part an acknowledgment of the ever-progressing (yet traditional) foundations of the coffee roaster business model. I believe we can shake things up to create a truly great experience for the home user and at the same time, create a level of transparency that our wholesale partners can support and get behind.

The blue skies are big and vast and we have so many exciting projects that we will release incrementally to our loyal customers.

  • A one of a kind subscription service, where we will be crowdsourcing seasonal blends.

  • Online user portals so our wholesale customers can log in and manage their own orders and accounts.

  • A fundraiser that aims to put roofs over school children’s heads in Honduras so they can eat lunch in sanitary conditions.

  • Thought Sessions, where our partners can gain insights directly from industry leaders on how they can affect their businesses toward increased prosperity.

And that’s only scratching the surface – we have so many more projects and technological advances we want to roll out over the coming year.

As a small business owner, I’m lucky to have made a lot of friends over the past two years. I hope that you will continue to trust in our pursuit to be even more inclusive, and continue to support my business as we continue to grow and push the envelope.

Thanks again for being a part of that journey and here’s to looking towards a exciting future together that will be truly earthmoving.

Deaton Pigot
Founder

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Year End Recap 2017

28/12/2017

2017 hands down has been the most action packed year for all of us at Take Flight Coffee. It feels like we have thrown everything at it that we could muster. All in all we can’t really complain as Take Flight has grown in size not only in volume but in staff as well. Along the way we have built a unstoppable team spirit and a strong foundation on which we can build upon.

I was originally going to post this to our news section of our website but it just got way to long so here it is, in its entirety.

Rather than focusing on 1 part of our year I thought I would give a few bullet points in each month that were the highlights.

 

January

We made our annual trip down to Honduras where we found that the Caballeros have made so many advances on their land. From a newly built cupping lab with sample roasters installed to an extension of their african drying beds, to the addition of many more varieties to their nursery. It’s during this trip that we bought from their farm Tanairi and a rare variety for Honduras called Java which we sold as our first installment in the Black Label Series.

 

February

 

Douglas Meils climbed out from the mountains in Washington State and joined Take Flight. For those who don’t know him, his coffee career spans over a decade working for the likes of Intelligentsia and as Handsome’s Head Roaster for 3 years while they changed the face of specialty coffee on the West Coast. What a find, a character and a confidant.

 

This month, we opened up ourselves to new potential in Guatemala! I had to say goodbye to old relationships and say hello to new ones-and I was equally excited to start anew. We found a small group of growers from a new program named El Quiche which has become a staple in our blends.

 

Then remarkably in a table of 90 samples and 180 cups of coffee I select 3 samples that all scored 90+ and all end up being from the one farm. El Piloncito, we managed to secure their first coffees sold to specialty coffee market and boy we can’t wait to bring them back in 2018.

 

March

 

We interview Alvin Kim or should I say he interviews me? Alvin on his 2nd interview with me came prepared with two seperate page turning documents with our logo and all on how he would grow Take Flight. Needless to say he quickly became one of our biggest assets and more importantly a friend to us all.

 

Dalton, who had already been with us for a month, is quietly waiting in the rough for his time to shine. When he does, we all stop whilst breathing from our mouths and take note. Dependable, always shows up to work early, and just gets shit done.

 

We headed to Nashville to take in the sights and walk the floor of the Nashville coffee festival. It is a great chance for us to see a lot of people we know, meet some new ones and spread the word about Take Flight.

 

April

 

With a brand spanking new wrap around our truck, which we lovingly call Big Betty, we take our even newer coffee cart down to San Diego for the beer and coffee festival put on by Modern Times.

 

The coffee cart opens us up to all sorts of opportunities and suddenly, we’re popping up in many different locations: from Dogtown Crossfit to back stage at Coachella and KROQ’s party house. We got to meet and greet multiple musicians and even Aussie rock gods Empire of the Sun.

 

We ended April by renting a massive Tahoe SUV and road tripped from Los Angeles to Seattle for the SCA’s annual conference where we man the booth at the first ever Roasters Village. We held a cup tasting competition at our booth and tried and give away a ton of prizes whilst sponsoring the US Cup Tasting Championships.  

 

May

 

On the back of gaining a design award for our 12oz boxes, we did a photoshoot for all our merchandise and update our website. It was finally starting to feel complete.

 

We released the Black Label Series, Las Amazonas from Honduras, a Java variety that we flew in for the SCA, got lost at LAX for two weeks and had to drive to pick it up ourselves. Customs even put a lock on the coffee so we couldn’t open it until it was cleared (which ended up being 1 hour before our roast day ended). We cried with joy.

 

Take Flight experienced a growth spurt this month and we started to put on 2 accounts per week, which had us all a flitter.

 

June

 

We hosted and judged our 2nd latte art throwdown with $1000 in cash prizes up for grabs at Red Berry in the South Bay area. We had no idea how many people would turn up and were surprised to say the least that it was jammed packed and we had to turn people away.

 

We were the only coffee vendor at the LA Design Festival, a super cool event where all the celebrated designers and artist convened. I sat on a panel called FoodxDesign and spoke about our packaging, design process, and how it all represents our brand, among other things.

 

July

 

The word is spreading South, and we start to find partnerships in Long Beach and San Diego! We went as far as to host a meet and greet at Moniker’s creative work space. I had the chance to talk about my life in coffee, Direct Trade, and generally have a great time meeting like minded entrepreneurs

 

At Unique LA, we take on a massive market and win! We fueled all the exhibitors and attendees over two days in a line that just never seemed to end. It was held at the Santa Monica airport in one of their hangers and was is truly a sight to be seen.

 

August

 

Spencer Pratt talks about Take Flight on his Instagram stories. *drop mic, walk off stage*

 

Other stuff happened but how can you top that???

 

September

 

Boom another record month, we start working with 13 new wholesale partners and we could not be happier.

 

I also attend Tamper Tantrum, I have been wanting desperately to sit in one of these events and nerd out; I was not disappointed. Did you know that we need to double the world’s production of coffee on half the amount of land by 2050? Sounds bad, but it is doable with planning, they say.

 

October

 

I turn 40 and spend most of the week leading up to it complaining that my bones are starting to ache.

 

Our favorites Coffee Commissary open up a new location in Glendale and kill it. I witness a literal horse been brought into a cafe in Burbank and am too afraid to post it to IG for fear that they would get shut down.

 

We help wake up Disney’s head office in Burbank after they crushed a all nighter launching some tech stuff that is so super secretive I could get shot just writing that we were there.

 

November

 

Our coffees found their way over to Japan where they were “unboxed” for a ThanksGiving special that Simon and Martina Stawski put on youtube live and their crazy amount of followers. We had no idea how it got over there but we are thankful and now regularly tune into their youtube channel where they review sushi. Crazy fun world we live in, eh?

 

This month, we supported John Marshall High School in Silverlake by making coffee for their basketball fundraiser. I learned they shot part of the film Grease there, which means I was walking on ground that Olivia Newton John had walked on *gush*.

 

We finished off the year with the massive Unique LA Holiday market and then parked the cart at Truecar.com’s LA office to keep them caffeinated in their first inaugural hackathon!

 

December

 

The last 6 months we have seen month after month growth, it has been incredible to see.

 

We released a holiday gift box and the hunt for a warehouse began to ramp up.

 

We started to gain some recognition this month: Sprudge.com nominated us for Notable Roaster and days later, Thrillist.com put us in the top 21 Coffee Roasters in the US. We are gobsmacked.

 

Phew.

 

As I wrote this, I couldn’t believe how much we’d done and achieved-and this is not even all that we have done! We have been so incredibly busy and I can’t thank everyone enough for being a part of this journey. To think that this all has been done without a home to call our own, no million dollar buildouts just good old fashioned hard work and a can-do attitude.

Chelsea

I have not mentioned my wife in this story as yet as she needed her own section all of her own. What a woman, she, like I had no clue what we were getting into and what we would ultimately have to sacrifice to make Take Flight work. She left her broadway career to focus TV and Film but soon was quickly consumed with Take Flight.

She never complains, is fantastic with our staff and wonderful with our customers and has proven to be the back bone of the business. For that I thank her, and count my lucky stars that she sauntered into my life back in Brooklyn in 2014.

To End

We have so many exciting things ahead we truly are just scratching the surface of what is to come. Keep an eye out on this page and Take Flight Coffee. 

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We’re Hiring! Account Manager!

28/11/2016

Beginning the new year, we will be conducting interviews for a highly motivated sales person, please send resumes to chelsea@takeflightcoffee.com and read below!

Take Flight Coffee is a Los Angeles-based coffee roaster founded by experienced roaster, Deaton Pigot.  Deaton has 23 years of Specialty Coffee Experience.

Take Flight is planning to start something spectacular, drawing on Deaton’s experience in roasting and green buying from Ireland, Intelligentsia, and Toby’s Estate Coffee Singapore and Brooklyn NY.

We are seeking a self-motivated coffee professional to build a world-class wholesale program. We’re looking to get our coffee in cities up and down the west coast.

This is a great opportunity for a self-starter who wants to be a part of something new.

Requirements:

  • Must have car and insurance and be able to work independently.
  • 2-3 years of sales/marketing in specialty coffee or a similar industry
  • Knowledge of coffee brewing equipment and brands
  • Ability to cup and evaluate coffee
  • Experience training baristas
  • Experience planning events
  • Experience creating support documents (coffee descriptions, price sheets, training tools)
  • Ability to work with and meet or exceed monthly sales targets

Compensation

  • Excellent commission for the life of accounts.
  • Health insurance (after 90 days of employ)
  • Company phone/phone number
  • Reimbursement for mileage
  • Monthly sales expense/marketing account allowance (meals and entertainment)
  • Business Cards
  • Free coffee!

You must be fun and energetic and able to work well with EVERYONE!

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Balancing Act Of Sweetness – My Most Viewed Post, Updated

13/05/2016

Please see linked post if you want to know what I am talking about.

This ended up being a much more complicated blog post so I have split this up into two parts. I hope you enjoy.

I am going to discuss my approach to roasting coffee. This is what I’d call my “default” roast. But to set the stage, let’s take a step back in my life to talk about the best roasting course that I’ve attended.

 

I am talking about the Karl Staub course that he gives, if you don’t know who he is, you should look him up, he is the inventor of the Agtron after all.

 

First some science: Within his course he talks about developing complex carbohydrate chains, in particular he focused on Polysaccharides. It seems that early on in the roast is where Polysaccharides are broken down to Monosaccharides and it is these that we want to make sure we have a foundation of.

 

Why? Because this is the foundation of sweetness in coffee. (That’s why I remember this so many years later.)

 

Monosaccharides, in this case are helping us build a foundation of fructose sweetness. From experience this is done from the moment we see the chlorophyll start to break down or disappear from the bean. It is at this point that you want to slow your rate of temperature rise. The marker that I use 300F/ 148C at 5 mins (this is my “default” roast remember?)

 

If you have set up your charge temperature correctly and the amount of energy you are applying to the roast, this slow down should just happen as the beans lose moisture and become less conductive to heat (Think about grabbing a hot pan handle with a wet towel instead of a dry one. Ouch. The moisture in the towel transmits the heat straight to your hand. This same effect impacts how coffee roasts, because it starts out with more moisture and loses it as time passes.)

 

This is a very important moment in the roast. From 5 mins to 7.30mins in the roast you see your coffee turn yellow then orange. When you hit around 355F/ 179C caramelisation or as I like to call it cannibalization (Why? Think of eating a raw apple and its intense acidity and sweetness, now compare that to a baked apple that has gone through a caramelisation, the acidity has lessened as well as the inherent sweetness. It’s as though the heat is eating up some of the sugars and acid as it develops other flavors.)

 

When you hit this point moisture in the bean is starting to get forcefully driven out and a cooling of the drum can happen by expelling gasses and a change in bean mass.

 

It is important to race through the next stage as quick as you can because, this cannibalization of monosaccharides and fructose is rampant, think of this guy eating all the hard work you have put into the roast thus far. (insert pacman eating fructose)

 

Now this is where I have to pause with my explanation of my default roast. In recent times there has been a big push in roasting in a manner that actually ignores this important development of monosaccharides.

 

A popular profile says to charge your coffee at a temp and with enough energy that you have a high turn time and temp and for the whole roast you are actually backing off on the gas for the entire roast for the sake of this post I will call it profile “S”.

 

I have seen this in action and it baffled me when I watched the colors of the bean change from green, skipping the yellow colour that I was so used to seeing and heading straight to the colour orange or the cannibalization phase.

 

What happened out there that had people trying this style of roast? I had no idea.

 

Enter Ryan Wanslow, you will most likely know of him now as the East Coast La Marzocco tech guy. Or you may know him from his Ritual days in SF. I know him as the guy who came into my world for the sole purpose to challenge everything I knew about coffee, beer, wine and popular culture.

 

We would have so many heated discussions about roasting and coffee on a daily basis that our working relationship almost did not work. Then, one day, for whatever reason that I don’t even remember, we clicked. We ended up setting up coffee programs together that rivaled any other company out there.

 

I regress.

 

With Ryan on the tools and with a passion for exploration, together we started down a path to understand what was on trend and what was trad.

 

We chose a particularly sweet coffee that we could do multiple roasts on if memory serves me correctly I think it was a Yirgacheffe. Ryan roasted my default roast and the more modern roast profile which you are always backing of in gas to slow the roast down.

 

I’ll discuss what we found in Part 2.

 

======================

 

With cupping as our only measure, we did two types of cuppings. A traditional cupping, using the current Q Grader cupping protocols and we also did a side by side  minute  to minute  cupping.  A minute  to minute  cupping is taking a sample every roast minute from the tryer as the coffee develops.

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Draw a Line In The Sand

27/04/2016

The internet and blogging played a huge role in pushing coffee into the modern era.

 

When an explosion of coffee and roasting information started showing up on our computers from around the world, we all started to question everything and everyone around us. It was an exciting and divisive time to be in caffeine.

 

I specifically remember when “Direct Trade” first came into my life. Matt Riddle was the man that introduced the term to me, by way of Barista competitions that he competed in was actually quite good at for Intelligentsia (for history buffs, he was US Barista Champ in 2006).

 

I was in Ireland at the time from late 04 to 07, but the US was now squarely in my career flight line. So much so, I took it upon myself to book a vacation to Chicago with the sole purpose of introducing myself to Intelligentsia’s founder Doug Zell. Hell, maybe I’d even ask him for work and magic would happen.

 

Incredibly, this plan worked out almost exactly as I had sketched out. Soon enough, I landed in LA, among a bunch of talented implants from all over the country in ‘07.

 

I bring this small bit of history up because at the time that we started roasting coffee in LA we immediately began to question the company’s techniques. With Zell’s blessing we were allowed to explore and ultimately came up with this one simple question: “How do we make our production roasts taste the same as our sample roasts and get all those same flavor notes matching up.”

 

So we started down the bumpy path of exploration. This also happened to be the same time that The Coffee Collective and Tim Wendelboe opened up their doors and started what I call (rightly or wrongly) the Scandinavian Roast style.

 

I have to tell you, for the most part everyone was failing at first. Tim’s, The Coffee Collective were the same and, although Square Mile is not from the same area, I can lump them into the same group as well. From the samples that we were receiving from them and buying from them it seemed consistency was hard to hit and there was so much under-developed coffee flowing out  from this area.

 

Yeah. I know. That’s cold. I’m just trying to tell our history. So, sorry guys you know I love you (we are great friends), but it’s the truth.  Please don’t send hate mail just yet let me explain.

 

This was needed and an open banter occurred with shots being fired all the time. Either Tim W or Tim V wrote on Twitter once that “America should not be allowed to buy Kenya coffees” because Americans roast too dark! In turn when we cupped under-developed coffees (we would say “self cleaning”) we would call them a Wendelboe roast. (Try as I may to find this tweet I could not, I could only find my response which you can see here https://twitter.com/deatonpigot/status/72293859966722049)

 

These roasters were such a loud voice in the specialty coffee world, it made everyone else sit up, listen and try to emulate. Over the years, their roasting and sourcing has been fine tuned and of course they have more-than-earned every bit of the accolades they get.

 

As Intelli/ Stumptown/ Counter Culture were to Direct Trade globally, the Coffee Collective, Tim Wendelboe and Square Mile were to light roasting techniques globally as well. All equally important players in Specialty Coffee in their own right.

 

A few years after all this turmoil in the roasting world and all the debate (in my mind the debate is over), I realized I had hit my roof at Intelli LA, and it was quite timely that Toby Smith from Toby’s Estate, wanted to do something in New York and asked me to join the company.

 

With Toby’s personal guarantee that the company would not just “rubber stamp” the Australian business model in Brooklyn, but they would get behind me and adopt a style that was neither Australian but was something more local to Brooklyn. Tip of the hat to Toby for that.

 

I finally would get the chance to draw a line in the sand, well, for the most part…I will explain in more detail about this in my next post titled.

 

“Balancing Act Of Sweetness – My Most Viewed Post, Updated”

 

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Reintroducing Myself

13/04/2016

 

I’ve let this blog sit for a bit with nary a word. But now that I’m launching a coffee company, I figured it was time to fire it up again.
Many of you probably remember who I am. Maybe? It’s me. Deaton. No? Well, either way, here’s a very quick break down of my caffeinated past:
Café Barista from age 15 – Australia
Café and bar manager from 21 – Australia
Barista trainer from age 25 – Australia
Coffee roaster from age 27 – Ireland
Roaster and Quality Control Specialist age 30 – Intelligentsia LA – USA
Operations Manager Green & Coffee Buyer age 33 – Toby’s Estate Coffee Brooklyn
Now, here I am. A small business owner, age 38 and back on the west coast in Los Angeles!
It’s been a long road for sure and I have really lived a lifetime within those years.  I’m really excited/ scared shitless to be taking this next step on my own.
Over the years my biggest learning curves have come from when I have left one job
and started another. This is no exception, there is something about that feeling when you throw yourself into the deep end and try to learn to swim.
My father/ my mentor uses the expression, “bite of more then you can chew, then
chew like crazy!”. (Pardon me for talking with my mouth full for the next few years.)
So you’re probably saying, “So what, Deaton. Why is your coffee company so special?”
Well, I’m here to celebrate the journey. And coffee is a journey we’ve all been on these last few years.
Trends come and go. Things that we have all felt excited about have fallen off. Oddball ideas have surged to prominence.
Over time though I have ended up figuring out what I liked. And that led me to pick out which coffees I bought and which roasting techniques I used. From this foundation, we’ll be starting a new journey here at Take Flight Coffee. I hope you’ll join me.
Over the coming weeks I’ll share my adventure with you,
Next Post:
Draw a Line in the Sand – Owning My Style
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Minneapolis – Off On The Wrong Foot

27/09/2012

It’s great to be back in the Twin Cities, last time I was here it was 2008, which feels like a life time ago, in coffee years anyway.

It makes me realize how busy we are in our industry, so many events and business trips to cram into just one year. From travelling abroad to find coffee, go to the WBC or the SCAA, then throw in there the regional barista competitions and you still have not got it all covered.

I hold Minneapolis in a very special place in my heart, as it was the start of something special for me and my coffee career.

Today upon arriving at my hotel and answering emails, staring out an adjacent building I sent out a tweet that read. Something like this;

” Ah Minneapolis, not much has changed since 2008…”

Now at face value, and that is the only way it can be taken, it reads like I either think that the place is a shit hole and or I am not happy to be here. Which could not be further from the truth. In my head I was thinking about the hotel room and the ride here from the airport, I was just not thoughtful enough to convey that in my tweet.

So I apologize.

Getting back to what I stated above, this city was really, the start of a huge turn in my coffee career. I had started working for Intelligentsia only months before coming here with the Barista team and Kyle Glanville. Helping the team get Kyle through to the WBC was huge for us, the enthusiastic bunch.

So, I will say that I am truly excited to be here again and I can’t wait to explore the food and coffee scene, over the next two days. Last time I was here we celebrated Kyle’s win at possibly one of the best steak houses I have ever been too! For the life of me I just can’t remember the name of it though.

Now for this.