Measure. Grind. Pour. It takes talent to make a flawless cup of coffee, brewed to personal perfection. Each day we get up early to craft our signature pour-over or hit up our regular haunt during the morning rush, waiting in line, anticipating that sweet first sip. Coffee provides an escape from the everyday, giving us a moment of pure enjoyment before it kick-starts us into high gear with a caffeinated jolt.
Wille and Rebekah Yli-Luoma wake up and smell the coffee – literally – every morning. As the owners of Heart Coffee, this ambitious couple opened a roaster in 2009 right in the ‘heart’ of the most over-saturated bean market: Portland, Oregon. “When we opened Heart, the economy was horrible. We managed to get where we are today because we stand true to quality – and that will never, ever change,” Rebekah explains. Their belief in full transparency with their customers, and the perpetual willingness to pay more for a high-grade raw product despite the cost, speaks to their philosophy.
As a former professional snowboarder, Wille’s athletic background taught him two things: business precision and to never cut corners. He is a fixture in the entire business process, from sourcing green coffee in Guatemala, Columbia and Africa to handling the operations of the roasting facility and two city-based cafes. Together, the couple have cultivated a dedicated community of coffee connoisseurs who appreciate the strides Heart Coffee takes to produce a premium cup of joe.
But the competition in Portland is fierce, with cafés and roasters on every corner. So what’s the secret to the Yli-Luomas’ success? Continuous innovation. “We won’t ever have the coffee procedure figured out. We do not stay stagnant – we like to be progressive. It doesn’t help to think that you know everything.”
BREW YOUR OWN CUP
Below is Rebekah and Wille’s guide to creating the ideal home brewed coffee (innovate at your own risk):
- Use filtered water boiled to 93.5 °C
- Grind beans with a burr grinder for even particle size
- Use a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:16
- Measure using a scale for accuracy