Hardcore coffee lover

Brent Hainsworth

photo by Ken Smith

Punk rock and coffee may seem like disparate passions, but for Brent Hainsworth, of Chico Pyrate Punx fame, they go hand in hand. Six years ago, he applied the DIY ethic to his love of the drink by roasting his own beans, and Blacklisted Roasting was born. The business remains small, as Hainsworth works full time as a graphic designer and roasts beans on the weekends, though the recent acquisition of a larger roaster may change this. In the meantime, Blacklisted beans and brew are available at Empire Coffee or directly through Hainsworth (Blacklisted Roasting on Facebook).

How did you start doing this?

The Pyrate Punx wanted to start a venue—maybe a café—that we could all participate in, kind of based on the concept of European squats translated to American culture. So I decided, “I like coffee. I’ll learn about coffee.” I found out it was pretty easy to do small-scale home roasting and started doing that. It got to the point that roasting in popcorn poppers wasn’t enough to keep up with my own consumption or anyone else’s. The idea for a place kinda went away, but I kept roasting.

You were a coffee drinker before that?

I started drinking coffee in middle school, but just like whatever they had at 7-Eleven. Then I had a cup of coffee in Santa Barbara that was incredible. From then on, I started chasing after that feeling and seeking out better coffee. I also wanted to share that experience with other people.

Where do you get your beans?

When I started, I wanted to keep the smallest footprint possible and was only going to do American coffees. As I got more into it, I started to find the best coffees come from Africa. I read articles and watched documentaries about African farmers cutting down their fields, and figured if we don’t consume that coffee it will go away. I decided it may make my footprint bigger, but these people really depend on selling it, so I’ll buy it. I try to buy as responsibly as I can.

What’s the most exotic coffee you’ve had, and do you have a favorite?

I had friends bring back some coffee from Vietnam. You know, the stuff that the little cat-like things eat the berries and poop it out? Oddly enough, [my friends] liked it so much they drank it all before it got to me. Ethiopian coffees are my favorite.