A United States Postal worker makes a delivery with gloves and a mask in Warren, Mich., Thursday, April 2, 2020. (Photo by Paul Sancya for AP Photo)

We’re calling on our entire US-based specialty coffee community to pledge support for the United States Postal Service as a vital service to our country.

As the most widely available and affordable way to ship fresh roasted coffee to people’s homes, we rely on USPS for our businesses. Our US-based specialty coffee industry represents over $25 billion of retail value, and a high proportion of our package shipments are sent by USPS Priority Mail.

The current administration’s actions have led to cut backs in USPS services and its ability to pick up, process, transport, and deliver our packages. We do have the option to switch small parcel fulfillment to UPS, FedEx, or another carrier. However, we will not switch.

We see the current administration’s actions…


How Bay Area cafés have — and haven’t — shown up for Black Lives Matter

A Black barista, their long locs tied back, pours milk into a coffee cup behind the counter of a coffee truck.
A Black barista, their long locs tied back, pours milk into a coffee cup behind the counter of a coffee truck.
Photo: Thomas Barwick/DigitalVision/Getty Images

It’s like that movie Inception. One moment you’re moving along, doing your thing, and suddenly the ground opens up, flips upside down and sideways three times, and you have a whole new reality laid out in front of you to navigate. That’s what running a business this year has been like, and though we’ve somehow made it work at my two cafés—one on Union Street in San Francisco and another on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley—this time has unearthed a lot about how different businesses are operating.

The industry I know best is specialty coffee, having been an industry thought leader…


Those of us in the hospitality industry are experiencing a new reality. Providing great hospitality means something very different from what it did before, but also it’s the same. Let’s get into it.

four different instagram posts of cafes with plexiglass screens for their window cafes
four different instagram posts of cafes with plexiglass screens for their window cafes

We’ve been getting messages and social media tags from cafes and bakeries around the country who have read my last article “We turned into a walk-up window cafe” and have taken similar measures inspired and informed by what we’ve done at Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters at our San Francisco and North Berkeley cafes. …


When the Bay Area ordered an area-wide ‘shelter in place,’ we’ve stayed open as a designated ‘essential business’ serving takeaway only. But we needed to make sure our baristas stayed healthy and our business stayed open so we had to make some changes. Here’s some of what we did.

Open double-doors reveals a white counter and glass partition as a person is served coffee from a barista.
Open double-doors reveals a white counter and glass partition as a person is served coffee from a barista.
Our just-installed walk-up window at our Shattuck Avenue Berkeley cafe.

With the Coronavirus COVID-19 crisis on top of us, we at Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters have been trying our best to keep our two cafes open and serving the public while both adhering to local ordinances and trying to keep our baristas safe which in turn keeps our customers safe. I’ve…


Our roaster when we first installed it back in 2016, three iPhone generations ago.

So here at Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters we’ve been roasting on this hotrod little 2003 Probat L12 for about 3 and a half years now, and it’s it’s been quite the workhorse. It was upgraded (before we bought it) with separate motors for the fan, drum, and cooling tray arms, and while it’s been a little finicky from time to time, it’s been truly great.

It’s one of those lesser-ish known facts in the coffee industry that the letter-L in L12 allegedly stands for “laboratory” (or technically “labor” or “laboratorium” in German), and was not originally designed to be a…


My mother 강혜숙 (Kang Hae Sook), my grandparents (paternal) and me.

“I lost you for 30 minutes. I thought I was going to lose my mind.”

I was born in Seoul, at the end of 1973. My father, having just completed medical school, thought that the United States of America was a better place to raise a family than Korea. His older sister was already Stateside (also a medical doctor), and Korea was still many years from becoming the economic powerhouse that it is today. He went ahead alone, leaving my mother and me, his one year old son, to join him once he was settled in our new home. …


The OG. Check it out.

Trish and I binge-watched the anime about 5 years ago, and we loved the experience. I’m actually one of the rare folks who tries not to hang any expectations on new versions, iterations, or adaptations of beloved content (yes, while I won’t say I love them, I find myself an apologist for the Star Wars prequels often). Also, while I am a vocal advocate for representations of Asians in media, I can accept this film as an American adaptation of a Japanese story. Make no mistake, it’s definitely problematic, but it’s far from the worst thing about this movie.


There are many reasons I’d taken an intentional multi-year break away from the competition-side of barista and brewing competitions (“competition-side” but not the “event side,” as I’ve stayed on as the emcee for a few), but I still root for them. So going last weekend to Knoxville, Tennessee to the first of two US “Coffee Champs” qualifying events with Bethany and Adam, not to mention the weeks of playing the coach role, brings with it a flood of thoughts. Here’s my main thought though.

I’ve played pretty much every role there is to play in barista competitions and at the…


(reposted from my Tumblr)

If you’re reading this, you probably already know how to make good coffee. If not, nobody can help you. God have mercy on your soul. Also, I’m assuming you or someone at least brought some good quality whole bean coffee, cuz otherwise, drink tea.

To make good coffee, you need: a coffee “maker” (pourover dripper + filter or french press), hot water, and a decent grinder.

Worst case scenario, you could make cowboy coffee: Grind coarse and just boil hot water in a pot, let it cool for a minute or two, then add the coffee…


My Ninja Coffee Bar infomercial adventure, and my honest review of the best home coffee brewer I’ve used.

“Hey Nick, it’s Mark Inman here. Uh, what is today… it’s Tuesday evening, and I have an interesting proposition that involves being on a commercial….”

When I called him back about that voicemail, Mark told me about an encounter he had at Coffeefest Dallas (Coffeefest is a trade show geared toward new coffee shop owners) at a booth for Ninja Coffee Bar. They were having attendees taste coffees brewed behind a screen and commenting on camera. They were also looking for…

Nicholas Cho

co-founder & co-CEO of Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, San Francisco • proud immigrant from Korea • he/him • @nickcho on Twitter

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