Welcome to the Sprudge Twenty Interviews presented by the Pacific Barista Series. For a full list of 2022 Sprudge Twenty honorees, please visit sprudge.com/twenty.
Someday someone will write an autobiography about Candice Madison and their career, and that person will probably be me. What can you say about someone who was an early Black Q student, and one of the first UK Q graduates, whose careers took them from London to New York City to the Bay Area in California? Candice’s passion for justice and a fair supply chain led them (finally!) to start their own company, Kandake Boutique Coffees, with a mission to not only roast accessible coffee but buy coffee that pays for everyone in the supply chain right, from collectors and sorters to The supply chain and even future Candice employees.
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Do you have a ritual for making coffee?
I used to, and I was so proud of them! Through the pandemic and the wave of challenges it has brought with it, I have to say it was that good old-fashioned brand that we love to hate that has kept me in touch with the “proper” coffee life. The gym became a necessity, and so did a huge glass of BigBrand cold brew with it. I still prefer to drink coffee that someone else made. My ritual now is to keep myself safe, to be grateful for all that is available and to drink coffee made with intent and love of craftsmanship, and that’s it.
What quality do you prefer in coffee?
Kambaya sounds pretty boring, but the community and collaboration that connects people around coffee means a lot to me. I’m not even talking about the industry here. I have to look into my life only to see the family bonds and friendship I have made through this drink. My great-grandparents were coffee growers, my dad would pick cherries “only red roses” when he was a kid, and let me drink his morning brew, when I was a kid. In my family and circle of friends, she has made countless connections around coffee, we all do. It is one of the world’s greatest knit fabrics, and has been for hundreds of years.
The best coffee brewing song at the moment.
Oh, if I’m doing the flow, it might be something softly funky, so I can sway in circles and get the rhythm of the flow just right! Off the top of my head, one of my current favorites is Fire in The Sky by Anderson Paak. If it’s an automatic machine (Wilva Svart shouts), I like a few Foo fighters (The Pretender is on a heavy spin) to wake me up in the morning.
Do you have a favorite piece of clothing to make coffee in?
I mean, at home, less is more. At the bar, my zit will forever be a pair of jeans, a T-shirt, and a pair of cartridges. They’re the worst things you can wear on your feet (I aspire to wear Danskos), but they’re strict to me.
What was the last cup of coffee you enjoyed?
Honey made from Sumatra Aceh Gayo and roasted to perfection by my friend Doris Garrido Serrano. It sounds funky but it was one of those clean, complex, fruity cups of coffee I’ve had in a while. Really tired. So I bought a bag to roast myself – it’s a good cup of coffee now!
What is your idea of the happiness of coffee?
I’m going to knock this cylinder to the end of time: either we craft a fair copy of the existing supply chain, or, as I prefer, we blow this up, and start over, with an entirely new paradigm. Respect the land, respect the farmer, and pay for the product fairly. This will make me really happy
What issue in coffee do you care the most?
All forms of property rights. There are many, many issues that the industry faces, and this is closest to my heart.
What is the reason or the element that drives you to coffee?
people as well as my own passion for learning, experimenting and creating.
What’s the problem with coffee that you think has been so critically overlooked?
Do you have time…a lot. I’ve been trying to answer this question for 24 hours, and I still have a list at my arm’s length. I think our industry has a huge problem with messaging. Getting people to understand our industry is as fundamental to its survival as climate change etc. I saw an article in a magazine yesterday entitled “There really is an art to making espresso. Article in the National Journal Food & Wine in 2022. If we’re all talking to each other, how are we going to get new blood, new ideas, and a more diverse workforce? I don’t have a way to solve this problem, or ideas to contribute, it just pisses me off quite a bit. There. Many human, biological, technological issues etc., but I think this is just as important and unfortunately not discussed. Maybe I’m wrong; it happens.
Did you experience a “divine moment” or a life-changing moment for a coffee tablet early in your life?
Not a big fan of espresso drinks, but a perfect 5 ounce cappuccino with natural Ethiopian stuff (I have no idea, this was about 13 years ago!) Literally applying for my first coffee job on the same day, at the same coffee shop . Caffeine, Great Titchfield Street, London. Check them out – they’re still great!
If you could get any job in the coffee industry, what would it be and why?
I have this job 🙂
Who are your coffee heroes?
I don’t sympathize with people, as I think this is dangerous, but the very non-exhaustive list of people who have become friends I respect and admire as “coffee heroes” would be Phyllis Johnson, Fabio Ferreira, Rob House, Chris Kornman, Jane Apodaca, Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, Michelle Johnson, Matt North, Joanna Alm, Esther Masdam, Colin Anono, Ever Meister, Timika Lawrence, Chris McCauley, and Adam Jackson Bay. Honestly, I could go on for hours. I’m kinda, kinda fan of the girl most people I know are into coffee.
If you could drink coffee with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
My father, Winston Bean. Because he was my Jack Sparrow and I will miss him forever.
Do you have any coffee guides?
Many curse! At the top of this list is undoubtedly the rustic eldi. For the woman who has helped launch hundreds of careers, including my own, she does not get enough appreciation for what she does in the industry and for the hundreds and hundreds of people she has mentored, mentored and nurtured.
What do you wish someone had told you when you first started drinking coffee?
He runs! We are all crazy baristas here!! Seriously? This is a strange industry, just a decade ago that wouldn’t routinely advertise jobs or provide any structured assistance in navigating your career. Things are better now, but there are still very few linear paths of upward movement. At the end of the day, if coffee is your career and you’ve been in it for the long haul, beat yourself up, it’s brutal and demanding, but the rewards can make it worth it. Conversely, if you go over the limit and quit the coffee, the industry, and pat yourself on the back, it’s brutal and demanding, and sometimes there are even bigger rainbows to look out for. Oh, and be nice to people, this industry is *so small*…
Where do you see yourself in 2042?
Sprudge Twenty Interviews Presented by Pacific Barista Series. For a full list of 2022 Sprudge Twenty honorees, please visit sprudge.com/twenty.