Connect Roasters Team Spotlight: Drew Kline

We are thrilled to have Drew Kline on the Connect team!
Drew has been an asset to our company since he started last year. His biggest role falls under the umbrella of order fulfillment — making sure that our customers' expectations are met — but he's passionate about all parts of the coffee industry, including what happens at the farm level, thanks to his experience in Central America. We're excited about growing with Drew as he grows with us!
What first got you interested in coffee?
It probably wasn’t until my first time visiting a coffee-producing country that I even really liked the drink, honestly. I had the opportunity to tour a farm in Costa Rica, and at the end, they let us try some of the coffee that they had grown, harvested, roasted and brewed on site. A couple of years later I had the opportunity to start a coffee shop in Honduras as part of a job training center for teenagers in the community.
What part of the coffee industry do you find the most interesting?
The coffee industry is such a complex mechanism that’s constantly evolving, but I think one of my favorite parts of the coffee industry is the production phase. It’s a part of the coffee industry that often gets overlooked by the consumer but is such a vital part of what goes in to making a good cup of coffee. A lot of people don’t realize it, but every bean that goes into a cup of coffee was picked by hand. Based on the way the coffee plant ripens, hand-picking the coffee cherries is the only way to ensure that you’re not letting anything go to waste. So, every cup, from your Folgers to your small-town coffee shop, comes from the work of someone who meticulously picked those beans by hand. It’s something really fascinating that I don’t think gets talked about enough.
What’s something you have learned about coffee roasting in the last year?
Like I mentioned earlier, the coffee industry is constantly evolving. However, there are still constants throughout. I think one of the things I’ve had my eyes opened to us just how adaptable coffee professionals are or can be. I think we recognize that we offer a product that most of the world relies on and enjoys, and it was refreshing to see the ways different coffee professionals adapted their practice in the midst of the pandemic to make sure people could still enjoy their coffee. Connect was no exception to that.
If you could drink just one coffee for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Recently I’ve been really in to Onyx’s Honduras Miguel Enamorado. This coffee is grown in the same town where I led several mission trips while at Olivet and then lived for a year after graduating. In a way it’s a taste of home.
What hobbies do you spend time on outside of coffee?
I really enjoy spending time outside. So, whether that is hiking, camping, biking, or kayaking — you can count me in. I also enjoy doing some woodworking here and there.
What book have you read this year that you would recommend to others?
Currently, I am rereading the Chronicles of Narnia and couldn’t recommend more.
If you could travel to just one place that you have never been to, where would it be?
I would love to check out Iceland and Spain at some point.
Why did you choose to go into the coffee industry?
I really enjoy coffee and how diverse it can be. When the opportunity was given to help start the coffee shop down in Honduras, I jumped at the opportunity. Since then, I have really just grown a passion for the coffee industry as a whole.
Who are some individuals in coffee that you look up to?
Elika Liftee is someone I’ve followed for a bit. He does a great job explaining the journey coffee takes as a whole, as well as really diving into different brew methods.
Why did you choose to work for Connect?
Towards the end of last year, I was looking for an avenue to get more involved with coffee. After spending a year or more doing that down in Honduras, it just felt like I was missing something without it. I was really impressed specifically with how Connect adapted to the pandemic. Rather than moving forward with plans of opening up a coffee shop, they put the needs of the community first and dove headfirst into Quarantine Coffee.
What are some facts about you that most people would not know?
It doesn’t come up too often, but I am fluent in Spanish and am on my way towards learning Korean.
Is there a favorite quote or mantra that you live by?
None specifically come to mind, but I try to live by the mindset of “always be growing.” I don’t ever want to get to the point where I’m not learning more or pushing myself to be better. Whether that’s physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc. I just think there’s too much in this life to experience to sit back and let it pass us by. I’m always looking out for the next adventure and the next opportunity to grow.

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