David Ryan Barnes - Roastmaster
As a former Louisville native, I was fortunate to have had access to a number of great coffee shops. In 2012 I had, what we in the industry call an “Aha!” cup. A cup of coffee so delicious it makes you question every cup of coffee you’ve ever had. I was intrigued enough to embark on a mindful pursuit for my ideal cup of coffee.
My passion for roasting coffee started with an off-the-cuff conversation with my college physics professor. Knowing that I lived close to campus, and recognizing the logo on my coffee cup he estimated I had traveled 45 minutes to procure my morning coffee. His response; “You know you can roast your own coffee at home, right?” I was genuinely intrigued. After pointing me to a few online resources, and a short lesson on heat transfer I was ready to get started. After a few positive results, I remember the feeling as if I were onto something.
After relocating to Lexington, Kentucky in 2015, I decided to take my passion for roasting coffee to the next level; launching Smokin’ Aces Coffee Company and training with the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Training with the SCAA gave me the knowledge that I needed to begin roasting at a commercial level. Today I focus solely on using my experience to roast each coffee so that it can be the best version of itself.
Corey Critchfield - Quality Control
Although I started drinking coffee at a relatively young age I didn’t really begin to pay attention to the quality until I received my first job. When I turned 16 I started working at a small coffee shop in my hometown. Overnight I had access to a number of different coffees and an array of equipment. It didn’t take long for coffee to pique my interest.
After leaving college, I settled in Chicago where I began working for a coffee roastery. This was my introduction to the processes used to select coffees, as well as the roasting process itself. After learning more about how coffees are grown, how the origin of coffee affects its flavor, and how many different variables affect the quality of coffee I decided to pursue a career in the industry.
After determining it would be the best place to develop my skills, I purchased a one way ticket to Portland, Oregon. Working for two different cafes I continued to learn as much about coffee as possible. I also began to compete in the United States Barista Championship circuit. My first year I placed 3rd in the 2014 North West Regionals and 5th in 2015. My time in Portland catapulted my passion for coffee to new heights.
When I first met David and learned about his vision for Smokin’ Aces, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. Now I work closely with David to ensure that we are roasting the best and most interesting coffees for all of our customers to enjoy.