It’s been a long time coming and I’m so excited to talk with David Yake, Co-Founder of Bellingham, Washington-based Camber Coffee. In this interview series, we chat shop, dive into David’s current single origin offering, and find more about his perspective being in the specialty coffee industry.
Emmeline Wang: Tell me more about your specialty coffee journey. What inspired you to explore the industry?
David Yake: I somewhat stumbled into specialty coffee. When I was 19, my cousin was managing a small coffeeshop in the basement of the art building on the University of Washington campus. I’d never had a cup of coffee, nor did I know what a latte was, let alone how to make one, but he took a chance on me. I was lucky enough to work with, and learn from a talented group of baristas, many of whom would become lifelong friends of mine. The coffee was good, not great, but it was really the fascinating groups of regulars that I got to know over the years that made me fall in love with coffee and the community that surrounds it. After finishing school, I moved to California and worked a series of odd jobs, some in coffee, some not, but coffee kept drawing me back in.
EW: How did you start out Camber Coffee? Can you tell me a bit more about the meaning behind Camber?
DY: Camber started out as a series of conversations with my friend and colleague Andrew Bowman, who has a background in coffee sourcing and roasting. After many years of dreaming, we finally started Camber in 2015. We opened our flagship cafe two years later. Camber just means "curve". We chose that name because each coffee requires a unique roast curve in order to unlock all of the sweetness and complexity that it has to offer.
EW: Being based in Washington, a state where competition in specialty coffee is very prominent, what are some ways that you find Camber Coffee differentiates itself?
DY: We pride ourself in roasting coffees with sweetness, complexity and balance. We try to remain humble and open to inspiration from any source. And most of all, we strive to treat everyone with kindness and respect.
EW: Tell me more about the Ethiopia Danse Mormora. What makes this single origin your current favorite offering?
DY: I was awe-struck by the intense floral aromatics of this coffee. It can be brewed any number of ways -- more delicately to accentuate the nuanced, floral notes, or to emphasize the syrupy, sweetness that it has to offer. Either way, it's so consistently juicy.
EW: What are some short or longterm future projects you're excited about for Camber Coffee?
DY: We're always most excited about our very next coffee arrival. We just received a new Kenya Kiangoi Peaberry. It has a complex, berry character. Beyond that, we have some really fun new packaging that we're working with an artist in Amsterdam for some special coffees, including a Bernadina lot from El Salvador. We'll be rolling this coffee (along with the beautiful new packaging) this fall.
Huge thanks and shoutout to David for sharing with us more about Camber Coffee! Be sure to check out Camber Coffee here.