Who is Emily McIntyre?
A semi-digital nomad with my eye on the end game: changing the way coffee is traded globally. In practical terms, that means I’m a coffee mom, an entrepreneur, a writer, and a photographer. After 8 years in the industry in many different roles, I am very proud to be a Human of Coffee, and to advocate constantly for other Humans in Coffee.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
When I was four, I wrote my first book, a project over the lazy Montana summer. My mother (also a writer) took dictation, and I drew the illustrations. At the end, I had written a sci-fi book where I visited the moon and found hidden tunnels. I remember the feel of the paper under my hands, and the leaf-green construction paper cover. Many, many years later, I’m still writing about new worlds—the wild and beautiful coffee lands throughout the Equatorial zone, and fantasy lands in novels that I’ve written and discarded over time. I still love the evocation of a different reality, the lens of intensity on our world through the strangeness of another.
If you could have a do-over in life, what would you do differently?
I’d say NO and, occasionally, FUCK YOU a lot more. Growing up very sheltered in the United States Midwest, I was taught to obey rather than make up my own mind, and that led to so many problems. If I could go back for a do-over, I’d choose to be the difficult one who always asks, “But why?”, instead of saying yes to everybody else’s ideas of who/what/how I should be.
What do you feel most proud of?
I guess this is related to the last question. I’m proud of who I’m becoming. Coming from a life of assent and beginning to choose my own boundaries, careers, and even anger, I think ordinary being a human stuff means more to me than the average person. I’m proud that I have a badass daughter who tells the world exactly what she wants of it, and I know a part of her strength is because I’ve chosen to do the work, make the hard calls, to get where I am in my personal journey. I’m proud that I’ve broken out of the religion in which I grew up, and proud that I still love my family. I’m proud that I’m still writing, after decades. I’m proud of my gym habit, of my hard work advocating for coffee people all over the world, and my crazy-amazing friends. So yeah: I’m proud of who I am.
If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?
- a multi-purpose black dress, so I don’t have to walk around and make the world jealous
- my laptop, so I can keep writing and run my businesses + catch up on The Good Wife at night.
- a hairstick, because I can’t stand hair in my eyes and I have a shit ton of hair.
The thing I realized when answering this question is I could live without those three things if I had to. I’ve got some precious possessions but none of them matter as much as my husband and daughter to me, and those two aren’t possessions. That said, we traveled carry-on only to Ethiopia and lived for 4 months out of our backpacks all over the country, from Yirgacheffe to Harar, so I ain’t skeered. And once we lived in the back of our truck during a 8000-mile road trip for 6 weeks with almost nothing, and it was one of the best times of my life.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
She left the world a better place.
What is Crema.co?
Crema.co is the project I’ve been working on for going on 2 years now, with my cofounder Tyler Tate. I get to combine every bit of experience, passion, and networking, to hold up my end of this company! We’re a marketplace that enables coffee drinkers to subscribe to roasted-to-order coffees from top craft roasters across the country. I handle the coffee side of things, including overseeing the selection of roasters and coffees (we taste every one, and turn down easy 50% or more), as well as the content—which, given our strong focus on storytelling, is a big task! We research and write about every farmer or farmer organization represented through our roasters, and we have some of the best roasters throughout the US, from big names like Onyx Coffee Lab and Ritual (coming soon!) to small/amazing guys like Theodore’s and Passion House.
- Brew List: Customers choose the coffees they’d like to try, add them to their Brew List (which works like a playlist for coffee), and get the next one on their list each time.
- Personalized recommendations: As customers rate the coffees they receive, we learn the characteristics present in the coffees they like, and use this to provide personalized recommendations.
- Storytelling: We tell the stories of the people behind the beans.
What is your favorite kind of coffee?
Wow, that’s a tortuous question to answer. On a daily basis I go for pourovers,and of course I love espresso but one of my favorite drinks is a breve cappuccino from Vivace in Seattle or my basement when we have our commercial machine hooked up… if it’s just right it’s like drinking marshmallow fluff and the richest, saltiest, sweetest espresso of your lifetime… I like to dip a square of dark chocolate in the capp. until it barely melts and then swirl it all together on my tongue. I’m pretty partial to traditional Ethiopian buna too—there’s something so mysterious and evocative about the harsh, aromatic brew and the ceremony surrounding it.
In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?
Most of them! I live in Portland, which is the queen of coffee cities, and I wrote a guide to my current top 20 shops here. The only shop I can’t stand is a half-assed one. Anywhere that the baristas, roaster, etc., give a shit about what they are doing will have me happy in one way or another.
What does a perfect day look like?
Wake at 5, drink tea (maybe a puehr), and journal, spend some time with my tarot deck, hit the gym, and maybe get a few words written on my current novel. It’s raining and I love it. When my husband and daughter get up, we make breakfast and drop her at the awesome Spanish/English bilingual school she attends, then make the rounds through Portland’s coffee scene, working on our laptops from each one and bumping knees under the table. Maybe I land a big interview or we have a business breakthrough: something to celebrate. For lunch, we decide on Bollywood Theater and I devour so much kati roll and mango lassi and hot chai that the only solution is to head to another coffeehouse and add some espresso to the mix. Late afternoon, I hop on my bike and head to a happy hour with one of my favorite girlfriends—we laugh and talk and enjoy how much we’re enjoying each other and eat roasted brussel sprouts—and then I head home to watch Howl’s Moving Castle with my daughter and, once she’s gone to bed, an installment on one of the series my hubby and I are hooked on. I close with some yoga, and end the night with still meditation in my bed.