Hold up, folks. There's a new coffee man in town, and his name's Matt Ludwikowski (don't worry, you don't have to spell it). The mastermind behind Atlanta's newest roasted sensation, Brash Coffee, sort of fell into the coffee-making biz by happenstance. And we're sure glad he did.
It all began one dark and stormy night in El Salvador…maybe. While we can't accurately report the weather at the time, we do know that Matt was in El Salvador two years ago. He was with some friends, starting up a computer lab for a small community, when he suddenly found himself driving between volcanoes in search of the best coffee farms. Matt recalls, "It struck me that people were being taken advantage of, in something that I enjoy every day. And I could make their lives better with my choices."
With that goal, he set out to make some of the most downright delectable coffee we've ever had the joy to sip upon. And it worked. Simply put, there are four rock-solid reasons why we think Brash is just about the best thing since, well, ground coffee:
Coffee Shouldn't Come From A Factory
Brash Coffee doesn't. It comes from fields in Ecuador and El Salvador that Matt has not only visited, but in some cases, worked on himself. And when Brash Coffee works with a farm, they provide equipment and training, as well as fair wages. They scout out farms that are growing coffee, but not producing it, meaning that these farmers are selling coffee cherries to plants which process them, mixing all the different beans together. "I'm tired of every company having the same coffee from the same farms," Matt explained. So he does things differently.
Matt Meets Every Farmer
He's gotten to know the farmers, like Henry Gaibor, the man responsible for the delicious brew we tasted. And the ones that Matt has trained and worked with in El Salvador know him so well that they've nicknamed him "Pajaro Loco." "It means 'crazy bird'," Matt explained, "...because of the hair," he continued, gesturing toward his head. But that's what Brash is; doing things passionately and assertively, even if it's not the easiest or most predictable path. As Matt said, "We're just going to do it. Even if people call me 'the crazy bird'. Because we believe it will make things better."
It Won Awards After One Year. NBD.
And even if it weren't making the lives of so many farmers and workers better (which it is), it's certainly making a better cup of coffee. "Farm-to-cup," Matt dubbed it. And the results speak for themselves. After less than a year of this venture, Matt won the Southeast Regional Brewers Cup in 2012, with coffee beans that he'd squeezed into cereal bowls. Yes sir (or madam), it's that good. And we lied, it's a pretty big deal.
Good Coffee Doesn't Take Itself Too Seriously
Now that you've been inducted into this coffee society, we'll let you in on a little secret. While Brash doesn't have a physical location yet (look for it this fall, on the Westside), you can swing by Matt's office space at 2300 Peachtree Road for a free cup on Wednesdays. And then purchase a bag if you like.
Brash Coffee is about creating new experiences – and this mindset will extend to the new brick-and-mortar locale, which is focused on sharing coffee, together. Your part in the process? Simple: "Enjoy the hell out of your cup of coffee," Matt said. They'll take care of the rest.
Photography courtesy of Brash Coffee.