Get to Know:

Carina, Michael and Russel

from Detour Coffee

Roaster Origin Stories with Detour Coffee

We got the chance to get to know not only one, but three wonderful roasters from Detour! Meet Carina, head roaster, and Michael and Russell who are production roasters.
It seems common that most people in the coffee industry haven’t always been working in coffee. We’re curious to know: what are your backgrounds and why did you decide to pursue coffee full-time?
My friend back home in India used to be a major coffee geek. Some of his family had coffee farms and whenever they would send us green beans we would experiment and try to roast them over the stove with a pan! We both didn’t know anything about coffee, but doing this sparked greater interest in it. We started frequenting different cafes and trying different coffees until I finally decided that coffee was something I genuinely wanted to learn more about. Going into coffee was also a good fit for me as I have a culinary background, and it was really helpful to apply what I learned about heat transfer in culinary to roasting coffee. Just like in culinary, coffee is about tasting the end product, deciding what needs to be changed to make it taste better, and continuing to play around with the recipe until I’m happy with it. 
I come from a gas technician background. I have mechanical experience specifically with heat application and airflow, which is coincidentally applicable to coffee roasting! My story is a bit about stars aligning and started when my father got my mother an espresso machine for Christmas in December of 2019. I knew nothing about how to pull a shot, but from the moment I pulled my first one, I fell into the black hole that is coffee. I needed to figure out what was going on and how I could make the best coffee from that point forward. At this time, I also coincidentally befriended one of the regional managers here at Detour and he reached out to me, knowing that I was trying to make a transition, and let me know that the roastery was hiring. Of course, I had to say “yes”. I gave it a shot and four years later, here I am roasting coffee for Detour!
My relationship with coffee started way back when I was in highschool. Just like Michael, I worked a non-coffee-related job until I landed my first roastery job. In my phone interview with my previous employer, I probably told them over twenty times about how much I loved coffee, and that’s pretty much how I got the job! I started as a production associate packaging coffees, and 6-8 months later I finally started to roast. As I gained more experience and sought to further develop my roasting skills, an opportunity at Detour opened up and I took it!

Want to learn more about Detour Coffee? Check out our Q&A with Ryan McCabe, Co-Director of Coffee.