Jeff McArthur, Roasting DepartmentJeff McArthur was born in Hillsboro, OR, to a family of God-fearing Californians. In this thriving suburb of Portland, he grew up amid friends and family who showed him the value of life and dreams without limits. And, it was here that he would fall in love with his high school sweetheart, whom he would eventually marry. Early in life, Jeff found his comfort in the mountains and waterways of the Pacific Northwest; skipping class regularly to indulge. A passion for the out-of-doors led him to the Last Frontier, AK, where he would grow to become a forester, husband, father, and follower of Christ.
After spending nearly a decade in Alaska, Jeff moved his family to North Carolina in pursuit of a coffee dream. Within a week of arriving he was hired on as part of the production crew at Counter Culture Coffee and two months later would begin an apprenticeship in the roasting department. After two years of roasting coffee, he's still learning the craft and pursuing that dream.
Q: What coffee are you currently drinking?
Harfusa from Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia. There's an Almond Joy at the bottom of each cup. [Editor's note: not literally, of course.]
Q: Choose your favorite coffee and brewing method.
Idido Misty Valley is the coffee that I long for and the French press is my brew method of choice.
Q: Who at Counter Culture Coffee would you most like to arm-wrestle, and why?
I'd like to arm-wrestle fellow roaster Tom Burns because my chance at success would be slim.
Q: What is your favorite book?
Paul's Letter to the Philippians in the Bible.
Q: What keeps you busy outside of work?
My wife and I have been blessed with two sons (currently ages 4-years and 10-months) who are teaching us the meaning of grace, the power of brotherhood, and the need for humility; something I'm still working on. Beyond that, my passion lies in photography, vintage Volvo repair, “Three Buck Chuck” from Trader Joe's, and The Big Lebowski.
Q: Share an interesting fact you've learned about coffee while working at Counter Culture Coffee and name the person from whom you learned it.
“It's all Colombian.” Source unknown.
Q: When you were 8 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A fighter pilot, no doubt. In fact, I assumed the nickname “Jet” for several childhood years, mostly because I thought I could run as fast as one.
Q: If you could beam yourself anywhere in the world for your lunch break, where would you go and what would you eat?
Given the chance again, I'd go to Dooger's Seafood & Grill in Canon Beach, OR, with my mom. There I'd listen to her scold me for ordering chicken strips with fries when clam chowder was the only proper choice on the menu.
Q: Which Counter Culture Coffee customer is most likely to see you outside of work?
The Belgian beer selection at Whole Foods of Chapel Hill keeps me coming back.
Q: Jeff, you and your wife lived in Alaska before moving to North Carolina. What do you miss most and least about the least densely populated state of the U.S.?
I miss the relationships that are forged in small communities where you are bound by remoteness, severe weather, and the grandeur of nature. I do not miss ice fog or those short women who resemble the dwarves out of a Tolkien tale.
Q: For those who don't know, please tell us about Wyatt the Volvo.
This 1969 Volvo 144S was previously owned by Daryn Berlin whom gave it the handle “Wyatt” in honor of its original owner. Being the third man to be obsessed with this cream-colored car, I've done plenty of tuning on the dual carbs, replacing of rotten rubber bushings, and caressing of this vintage Volvo's simple lines. Wyatt proudly serves as my daily commuter and will surely roll on through 300,000 miles.