Meet Gabe: Bellwether’s Green Coffee Buyer & Award-Winning Roaster

The best thing about the coffee industry is the people in it, so we’re pulling back the curtain to spotlight the amazing team we have here at Bellwether.

Who: Gabe Boscane
Role: Green Coffee Buyer
Location: Near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

As Bellwether’s Green Coffee Buyer, Gabe is our primary relationship lead with the coffee producers we feature in our Green Coffee Marketplace.

With over 20 years of roasting and sourcing experience with companies like Ritual, Intelligentsia, Sightglass, and now his own company—Máquina Coffee Roasters—he’s deeply aware of what it takes to create coffee supply chains built on ethical and relational sourcing.

Hey Gabe, Will You Answer A Few Questions?

How is your approach to finding farm partners different?

It’s changed a lot over time. When I first started, it was completely based on flavor. I wanted really nuanced and different flavors. As I got older (and wiser), people came into play. Now, I look at interesting projects and where we can have the most positive impact. 

At Bellwether, we are looking for sweet and clean coffees that are grown by good people doing good things in the world. We source coffees not only for technical quality but also holistic relationship quality, meaning can we trust the cooperative/the producer and do they have as much vigor to produce quality coffee with us and grow with us and are they driven by solid sustainable and responsible agricultural and socio-economic practices.

Gabe standing in a coffee field

What’s it like working with Bellwether and also owning Máquina?

It’s hectic! But wonderful. I get to use my green buyer muscles with a much larger volume for Bellwether, and I also get to steward relationships of smaller producers as the sole roaster and buyer for Máquina. I am a one-person operation over there!

How does your roasting experience inform how you source coffees?

My 20+ years of coffee experience absolutely informs my buying practices as I can detect potential for improvement and detect high-quality coffee that would serve a specific purpose, like blender coffee, espresso base coffee, filter coffee for a lighter roast, etc.

What changes do you want to see in the coffee sourcing industry in ten years?

I would like to see more long term commitments to producers from green coffee buyers/roasters. I would also love to see a real push on educating the general public on what coffee costs to produce.

In my experience, many many folks focus on buying cheaper green coffee to secure a better cash flow, but that simply is not going to do much. We should be able to pay fair prices across the board that are in parallel to holistic quality. We do a lot of work to source great coffees and to make sure we are paying more than fair prices along with providing a lot of feedback and support to our customers. I didn’t have that kind of support when I started Máquina, and I had to spend over a decade learning this kind of stuff.

I think truly valuing quality and understanding our connections to producers and the coffee is something we should all strive for because once we do, then we can bring the customers at the retail level in and be more informed and thoughtful about our impact.

Photo by Bryan Clifton

What’s the craziest thing that happened to you traveling at origin?

We were traveling in Ethiopia and got a flat tire on this old Land Cruiser. We were delayed by 8 hours and weren’t going to make it to our next destination. Our driver reluctantly received permission from the local tribe and we ended up camping out in the middle of nowhere.

We took turns sleeping in the car and outside by a fire, while one of us stayed awake to keep watch. For a second, I forgot where I was until I heard hyenas and I knew I wasn’t in a Northern California state park!

Want to see how roasting coffee in-house with a Bellwether Roaster can help you build a stronger brand and keep more money per pound sold? Reach out today.