Who are you and what do you do in coffee?
I’m Andy Sprenger, the owner of Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters in Lakewood, CO. Right now I’m working on building out the space for the roastery/cafe, and everything else that opening a business involves. Soon we’ll be roasting and brewing beautiful coffee for the good people of Colorado and beyond.
How and when did you get started in the coffee business?
My first career was working in wildlife conservation overseas in Lebanon. After returning ten years ago, I started as a barista at Caffe Pronto (now Ceremony Coffee Roasters) in Annapolis, Maryland, assuming this was going to be a temporary job. But working in coffee became a passion, and I never looked back.
What jobs have you held in the industry?
Many! In the early years, I was a barista, delivery driver, bagger, and labeler—whatever needed to be done in a growing business. I eventually became head roaster, and led Ceremony’s production team for the past seven years. Most of my work as head roaster involved sourcing, profiling, roasting, and quality control.
What people and/or things inspire you, coffee-wise?
To me, the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony—an expression of hospitality, culture, and community that brings together family, friends and strangers—encapsulates most everything that is special about coffee.
What would you like to see change in the industry?
The specialty coffee community here in Colorado is vibrant, blossoming, and overall quite unpretentious. I’ve been impressed with, and thankful for, the openness to share information, and the readiness to lend a helping hand. I think the specialty coffee industry can only benefit from more of this type of community.
If you were to die and come back as a drink, what drink would you be?
Hopefully not a caramel macchiato. I guess it would be cool to come back as a coffee from my favorite growing region—so, an heirloom Yirgacheffe, manually brewed.
What do you consider to be your greatest contribution to coffee?
Carefully roasting really good coffee, day in and day out, for years. If you add up all the times people have found surprise, delight, and satisfaction in coffee that I helped to source and roast—the sum, I think, is significant.
What do you think others would say is your greatest contribution to coffee?
They might say it was winning the U.S. Brewer’s Cup twice, but I’d like to think they would also agree with my answer.
What’s next for you?
I was thinking hard about this question about a year ago. The result was a decision to move back to Colorado to start my own coffee roastery. My family and I now live close to my parents, and I am starting Sweet Bloom in the city where I grew up.
Has coffee affected your “non-coffee” life? If so, in what ways?
I have a non-coffee life?
Who’s the person you’d most like to see us interview next?
Sarah Allen. I’d love to see how one of the most influential and gifted writers in specialty coffee would answer these questions.