02. Bryan Schiele

In the online world of social media, Bryan Schiele is star.

In the real world, he's Bryan Schiele, a husband, father and software engineer. He's also a self described tech geek who, for five years, appeared in a weekly segment on a local CBS morning show where he spoke about the latest tech gadgets, apps, etc. 

But it's his passion for everything coffee that has led Instagram to list his @letsbrew.coffee as one of the '30 top coffee accounts' to follow. 

For the most part, keeping an audience on Instagram is less about what you say and more about how you present the photos

And that's why his gallery stands out amount so many other coffee themed feeds. His colorfully crafted images - released on a daily schedule - are befitting of the controlled yet creative mind of an engineer + photographer + coffee lover. He attributes his move to a consistent visual style as one of the reasons his feed now has over 27.5K followers. 

Did I mention his spreadsheets? No...I'll get to that. 

During his early married years/post college days he worked at Starbucks. Over a seven year period, he moved up to a shift supervisor position and got into their coffee masters program. But it wasn't until the early 2000's that Arizona got it's first 'speciality coffee' shop. That was LUX Coffee - a place I used to hang at when I lived in AZ. As Bryan puts it, 

That was my first experience with speciality coffee. It was my first time seeing latte’ art. This was all new to me and I caught the coffee bug really big around then.

And then again, in 2008 he was introduced to another level of speciality coffee in the form the pour over method at Cartel Coffee Lab. A once, small coffee shop + roasting facility that has since expanded and opened numerous locations. 

Seeing that led to him asking tons of questions, digging even deeper down the coffee rabbit hole and purchasing his first V60 and Hario kettle.

Last year, he took on a new project. A podcast titled, "I Brew My Own Coffee." He co hosts it with Brian Beyke, or as he's better known, @abandoncoffee

Having the podcast has allowed them to speak with people in all facets of the coffee industry. From barista competitors, industry marketers and coffee farmers. 

It’s given us opportunities to talk with people that we probably would have never had the chance to

And since neither of them work directly in coffee, they try not to present the authoritative word on anything. But trust me...these guys know their stuff. 

Having the podcast has also led to an influx of coffee being sent their way. (not a bad thing) So what do you do with dozens of bags of coffee arriving at your door each month? Well if you're Bryan, you create #officecoffee and begin brewing 420 grams of coffee a day - using the Chemex - for all of your co workers. When he first started, people would say, "this tastes different." Some have even told him they can't drink coffee at home anymore because they know what coffee can taste like now.

...One of the things I’ve learned from doing the podcast and talking to people who are really getting into coffee on the ground level - or dealing with my co workers - there’s a whole variety of coffee drinkers and coffee lovers. Not to say that anyone who drinks coffee and loves Folgers every morning is doing it wrong? That’s what they enjoy...that’s what they’re comfortable with. It gives a lot of perspective to the hype of certain things and all of the rules that everyone lays out. Sometimes I like to take a step back.

Well, a step back with a finely crafted, porcelain mug in your hand - while drinking an exceptionally roasted and brewed coffee is alway a nice place to be. And Bryan has more than his fair share of brewing options at home. Ironically though, his wife is not a coffee drinker. But he still holds out hope that, "maybe someday we'll be old and grey, sitting on the front porch sipping black coffee together in our rocking chairs." Until then, he at least has a partner who supports his crazy coffee habit. 

She supports his coffee quests so much so that during a recent vacation to CA, she gave him the ultimate getaway pass. Instead of having to go to Disneyland - She told him that he was free to head out on the ultimate Los Angeles coffee crawl. One that led him to Hopper & Burr, Augies, Portola Coffee Lab, Copa Vida, Go Get Em Tiger - meeting so many of the LA coffee professionals for the first time in person - reminding him that, 

...even though I don’t have a connection to a shop...Im not a coffee professional...I just find, specifically, that speciality coffee is a vehicle for interactions that I’d never met before.

Oh, you thought I forgot about the spreadsheets....Check this out. 

My spreadsheet is admittedly very nerdy, but I basically use it to keep track of different aspects of my brewing....Every time I brew a coffee, I record the details in the Brewing Database with the brew method, ID of the coffee brewed, amount, grind setting, water temp, and lots of other details about the brewing. I also record the overall experience and any observations about the aroma, flavor, body, and finish of the coffee. Then I give each brew a simple rating of Average, Enjoyable, or Exceptional...

The duality of an engineers mind - fused with that of the coffee lovers heart + palette have come full circle. Im a bit jealous of that spreadsheet. And I hate spreadsheets.