Intelligentsia's Geoff Watts Breaks Down How This Brand Is Impacting Coffee-Producing Communities

Intelligentsia's Geoff Watts Breaks Down How This Brand Is Impacting Coffee-Producing Communities

Geoff Watts fell into the coffee industry by accident.

He started out as a barista and became very interested in the chemistry of coffee roasting after falling in love with the idea of coffee having a large spectrum of taste.

What he never imagined was the doors his new-found love for coffee would open. Most importantly, how his current role as the vice president of coffee for Intelligentsia, a Chicago-based artisan coffee company founded in 1995, would inflict positive change in coffee producing communities abroad.

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The Artisanal Coffee Boom Hits Astoria, Queens

The Artisanal Coffee Boom Hits Astoria, Queens

By Brandee Sanders, Foodable Contributor

Long gone are the New York City days when Starbucks was considered a “fancy” cup of joe and Dunkin' Donuts the only go-to for a pastry. In fact, when it comes to the coffee, statistics show that, as of 2013, the number of local and small pour independently owned coffee shops now outnumber their big sisters at the rate of 57% and growing.

Walk the streets of Manhattan from Chinatown to Harlem and you’re inundated on a block-by-block basis with hipster pour-overs, artisan coffee, specialty pastries, and exotic styles of small-batch brews. And now, Astoria, Queens is getting a leg up on the caffeinated combo. But it’s important to realize coffee wasn’t always such an accessible commodity, and before we get to the good stuff, we’ll take a quick look back at how this consumption culture came to be. 

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