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Behind the Scenes with Steven Moloney

The feeling I had as a barista, and that other people have, is that you see people doing all this cool stuff, traveling to origin, and you’re always kind of stuck behind the bar—you’re making cappuccinos all day, working long hours, and not being able to do all the exciting stuff in coffee.

Ally attended the 16th annual AFCA conference in Kampala, Uganda in mid February. The African Fine Coffee Association is made up of eleven member countries that range from producing countries such as Ethiopia to strictly consuming countries such as South Africa. 

My coffee story starts back in 2007, 2008 north of Tampa and New Port Richey in kind of a small suburb. This was about the time that economy ended up crashing. Florida felt it in particular really, really hard.

At Ally, we believe that the people who share their talents with our companies are as important as the coffee we offer. Our goal is to empower your company leaders and employees through learning by providing courses, events and workshops (both online and in person) that are readily applicable to your work and immediately valuable to your organization.

Coffee processing—the steps taken after harvesting to separate the fruit from the coffee seed that will become roast-able beans—looks different in each country where coffee is grown. It’s important to keep this in mind when we use almost the same words to describe coffee processing across continents.

I started in coffee when I was 16 and worked at a coffee shop in New Mexico. The coffee was stored in giant Rubber Maid trash bins. There was nothing about where the coffee’s from. I knew how to find the espresso because it was shinier than the other roasts.

Brazil is practically a continent and its coffees are as diverse as the people who grow them, from smallholders descended from Eastern European immigrants in Espirito Santo to large estates owned by agribusinesses in Minas Gerais.

The US Coffee Champs Qualifying Event in New Orleans was an incredible event, especially on the Brewer's Cup stage. I was assigned to this stage and managed the logistics and the schedule of the competition throughout the week.

I guess it started with a machine, an espresso machine. My dad got an espresso machine for his 50th birthday and it caught my attention. Maybe I was 16 or 17 years old, and this led to finding the only shop in my hometown of Gothenburg selling spare espresso machine parts and they had this shelf of different coffees.

A few weeks ago, folks from the towns of Aponte and Buesaco in Colombia visited NYC to see what things are like in one of the cities where their coffee is consumed.