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West Coast Style Roasting by Fundamental Coffee Company

We asked Scott McMartin, owner of Fundamental Coffee Company, how he got started in the coffee business and why his coffee is unique.


We asked Scott McMartin, owner of Fundamental Coffee Company, how he got started in the coffee business and why his coffee is unique.

1. What made you want to get in to roasting?

I actually started my career in coffee as the guy in charge of sample roasting. I had the opportunity at a now global Seattle roaster/retailer to roast and taste thousands of samples from the coffee producing world, 120 grams at a time. I knew intrinsically that a sample roaster was just a snapshot of origin and putting blends together on a larger scale. Those snapshots ultimately led to blends that were enjoyed by millions of people. With Fundamental Coffee, I wanted to something that showcased a more artisan approach. I believe that small batch roasting is the key to process control, consistency, and freshness.

2. How would you describe your roasting style? What’s been the biggest influence on your style?

I roast in the tradition and style of West Coast roasting. Alfred Peet, Arnold Spinelli, and Jim Reynolds were my heroes in roasting. Let the record show that Jim shaped the Starbucks roasting style, which I owe a great part of my education. It’s important to note that roasting has become reactionary against darker roasts with many so-called “third wave” roasters choosing incredibly light roasts as their style. For me, each coffee and blend asks for individual interpretation. Sour, light-roasted coffee doesn’t taste good to me. It tastes raw and underdeveloped like lemonade with pencil shavings, lacking balance. But really, as consumers, we all get to vote with our coffee buying dollars and right now, the options for coffee choices are incredible.

3. What makes your coffees unique?

I’ve been very fortunate to meet incredible farmers, exporters, and importers in my career. Many of the relationships with members of my supply network have been close friends and colleagues for over 20 years! At Fundamental Coffee, we love highlighting blends and this likely comes from a combination of my time making coffee related products, judging beer competitions, and getting a sommelier degree while remaining in the coffee business. We want people to enjoy great coffee and make the business inclusive, not elitist. Coffee is arguably the most important and personal social beverage. ♦

Stay tuned for more roaster profiles from the top independent Seattle roasters working with us at Bean Box. Click here if you’d like to try Scott’s freshly roasted coffee. We especially enjoy his Stemwinder Blend, which is a bold and rich dark roast with a silky smooth finish and touch of sweetness.

Drinking Dark Roasts,

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