We chatted with the Director of Coffee and Founder of Traffic Coffee, Jesse Lewin, to learn more about this coffee roaster and some upcoming secret projects they have on the horizon.

- I notice you guys go pretty bold with the branding and bags - what’s the thought behind that?

The goal was to shift coffee away from being viewed as solely a utilitarian item.

Wine has long been the "pleasure" beverage but coffee has never garnered the prestige or respect because it’s almost always seen as a “tool” of sorts.

I wanted things to be as fun as possible. I wanted to have fun! I spent my life being a musician, recording my own stuff and helping other folks record. My life was about partying, getting crazy, living that “artist” lifestyle (however you want to imagine that).

When I started taking coffee extra seriously, I said I would never let coffee become a “job”. The bags are one of the many elements in my day-to-day that I try to keep everything fun and spontaneous.

- What would you say is the ethos of Traffic Coffee?

Honouring commitments. Empowering farms, farmers, partners to grow together symbiotically. Pushing for the democracy of specialty coffee.

It goes beyond that though. We’re passionate about the varietals and processes both discovered and undiscovered, coffees that are like sacred gems and others that are your favourite sweater.

It’s like going to Fairmount and having a fresh bagel right out of the wood oven. No salmon or cream cheese or anything on it. Just the bagel. Naked.

We often take for granted many of life’s little things… very simple elements that unleash the “happy” in people like there’s no tomorrow... but all that’s only scratching a very superficial layer of the work we want to do. All this is because someone planted a seed, it became a plant, it was nurtured, and the rest is history.

- Does Traffic have any upcoming plans for the future?

Now we have a plan where we are trying to bring an insane coffee experience to everybody in a setting where we can do whatever we want, wherever we want… and that’s all I will say about that. We have some interesting and special stuff coming down the pipeline.

July 28, 2023 — Zara Snitman

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