Creating community around coffee

Who are we speaking with?
Bobby Enslow, founder, owner, and operator of Indaba Coffee Roasters in Spokane, Washington.

Tell us the story behind your shop.
I started Indaba after a life-changing experience living in South Africa. For the first time I was really struck by our ability as humans to ignore those in need around us. After returning to my hometown I felt called to open a coffee shop in a poor neighbourhood. My hope was to create jobs, a place for community connection, and be a motivation for others to invest in the neighbourhood. Seven years later, I see so much life in this once supposedly lifeless neighbourhood. There are new homes being built and old ones being restored, new restaurants opening and neighbours sharing meals and lives together. What an amazing journey so far … what a powerful thing coffee can be!

If money was no object, what’s the first thing you’d change in your shop?
I’d give everyone a raise! Then buy some fancy new coffee-making machine I haven’t tried yet.

Tell us one of the most important things you’ve learnt while working in your business.
I’ve learned the value of shopping and supporting the local economy through the mindful way I spend my money.

If you could only use one piece of brewing equipment for the rest of your life, what would you choose and why?
It would probably be a Chemex 10 cup brewer. It gives me the flexibility to brew a cup for myself or a small group of folks to enjoy. It is also very forgiving, so if you don’t get your variables exactly right it still usually ends up tasting yummy.

Other than coffee, what would be the hardest food or drink for you to give up?
Hamburgers. Time and time again I find myself getting a hankering for a really good hamburger. They would be tough to let go.

Is there a country of origin that you tend to favour coffee from?
It goes back and forth between Ethiopia and Kenya. I would say the Yirgacheffe we have right now is just nailing it.

‘My hope was to create jobs, a place for community connection, and be a motivation for others to invest in the neighbourhood.’

Do you remember the first coffee you had that was more than just coffee?
Throughout university and graduate school, I didn’t appreciate fine coffee at all. I didn’t discover coffee’s full glory until later on at my first cupping at a local roaster. This gastronomic experience combined with my recently-squired knowledge of what goes on at origin coalesced to create something of deep importance for me. Knowing that coffee supports the livelihood of so many and creates such an impact really keeps me motivated.

Espresso of filter?
Filter.

Sweet or savoury?
Sweet.

Too cold or too warm?
Too warm.

First date: museum or movie?
Movie.

Bus or train?
Train.

Whisky or gin?
Whisky.

Creating community around coffee

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