Interview: Sightglass Coffee owners Jerad + Justin Morrison

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Coffee San Francisco

Justin Morrison and brother Jerad debuted San Francisco's full Sightglass Coffee in 2011.


Is there any sort of through-line of what a coffee has to be for you to serve it at Sightglass?

Jerad: Absolutely. Justin and I have very similar palates. We really look for a lot of similar characteristics in the coffees that we choose, which is helpful. Rarely are we ever at odds about the coffee, although it may happen. For the most part, we’re just looking for coffees that are unblemished, really sort of produced responsibly, correctly, because there is more or less a correct way to process and harvest coffee. These coffees shine on the table, in our opinion, because they always have a clarity of flavors and have a sort of nice balance to them. Those are the coffees, in a nutshell, we’re always looking for.

Is it harder at this point because of so many other roasters who are sourcing coffee, to find the coffee you want?

Jerad: I don’t think so. There are a lot of small producers out there that get overlooked. Primarily they get overlooked by businesses that do higher volumes. It doesn’t make sense for them to do business or trade with a smaller producer, based on their volume alone. It’s exciting for us, because we don’t ever want to overlook smaller producers, so we’re always willing to take on smaller lots and highlight them here and celebrate what they’re all about. Different businesses have different buying practices, and that’s something we never want to lose touch on.

Justin: With more people that are buying coffee in this direct manner, going to origin, like Jerad said, a lot of times, smaller producers are overlooked. Through there being more demand for small roasteries, buying in this direct manner, you’re also seeing more producers changing from selling their coffees on a commodity level, to putting in the extra work and trying to sell it within the specialty realm. It kind of goes hand-in-hand. Yes, it can be competitive as more micro-roasteries or small roasteries are buying direct, but at the same time, you’re seeing more and more producers that are trying to produce quality coffee and keeping with smaller producers.

Now that there are also more specialty coffeehouses in San Francisco, and the Bay Area, does that make your job easier or harder?

Jerad: Overall it’s a good thing. The more specialty coffee that’s being served is better for everybody that’s doing it. For us, we have Ritual right down the street. We have De La Paz right down the street. We have Blue Bottle right down the street, within mere blocks from here. We never feel like somebody else coming into another location here is going to be a threat to the volume that we do or the visitors we have on a day-to-day basis. The more that there is in a geographic region, the better it is for everybody.

Justin: Just the sheer exposure to specialty coffee, the more people that are exposed to it, the more business it brings for everyone. I think that having more opportunity for people to go to different places is going to make everything busier for everyone across the board. The fact of it is that people like options. They’ll pick their favorite coffeehouse they like to go to, their favorite profile, because of that. All in all, for the most part, people like to explore different coffee places and try different things, even though they have their favorites, as a whole, it brings more business to everyone.

What’s your favorite aspect of owning and operating a coffee company?

Jerad: I like every part of it, really. That’s why I think we structured our roles how they are, so that we’re not individually honed in to one specific aspect. The fun part is getting to be a part of everything, from our wholesale department to our green buying program, to the retail aspect. To us, all of those things sort of intermingle with each other and are one thing. If you take a step back, they sort of operate on an individual basis, even though they do really depend on one another to function. I like all the little tidbits of it.

Justin: It’s fun, being able to interact with every part of the business, and being able to learn. Because of our roles and the way that it’s structured, and having this overall Director role within the company, we’re faced with new challenges every day from individual departments. It’s always an opportunity for us to learn, and also teach those different Directors we have in different positions, how to handle different situations. The most interesting part of it is it’s always something new, every day, whether it be from the coffee bar or within our roasting and production, green coffees that we’re working with.

Jerad: If we don’t have the answer or we run up against something we’ve never experienced before or is foreign to us, we’re all able to put our heads together and figure out a solution that works well for the company. That’s always really satisfying.

Do you still get a chance to do any roasting?

Jerad: We do sample roasting, occasionally. Production is so dialed in. We have R.J., who really has it on lockdown as far as the management of production. He oversees all of the roasting and also oversees order fulfillment and organizations and really keeps it afloat down there. Under R.J., we have Joe, who’s our apprentice roaster. He’s been roasting for us for about six months now, and R.J. is just really showing him the ropes on all the intricacies and details that entails. They’ve just been so successful. It’s a lot of fun to see them do their thing and do it well.

Coffee San Francisco

Describe a typical coffee consumption day for each of you, from when you wake up.

Justin: Good question. I think it’s rather mild. Usually, I always have that one cup in the morning. I typically either get a cappuccino or a really short Americano, depending on the mood. Then, to be honest, throughout the rest of the day, it’s mostly cupping and tasting coffees. I have an occasional little sip for enjoyment, but I think the amount that we taste and cup on a daily basis is enough caffeine intake.

Jerad: Similarly, we’re tasting throughout the day, but it’s a lot of taste and spit, so it doesn’t creep up on you and bite you in the ass before lunchtime. Usually, I start off my day with cappuccino. Lately, I’ve been doing a shot of espresso and tiny milk-back, which has been nice, chase it down with a little bit of milk. It’s a good breakfast.

Do you have coffee when you go out to eat?

Justin: I do. I’ll try an espresso at the end of a meal. I tend to drink a lot more coffee if I have days off, for that reason. I still haven’t figured out why I tend to drink more coffee.

What’s your preferred brewing method at home, if you even do that?

Jerad: At home, we usually do pourover style, which is V60 or Chemex. Chemex is always so satisfying. It can consistently produce an elegant cup. Within the last three or four months, I’ve been doing more Chemex or Aeropress at home, when I have the opportunity. It sort of highlights the coffee in a different way. It’s good to mix it up. It’s always pourover, for the most part.

Justin: I typically do Chemex or Aeropress as well. I just really like the profile of the cup that those two produce.

Do you ever get a chance to work the bar?

Jerad: We do. Since we’ve opened, Justin and I intentionally were scheduled on Saturdays on bar, all day. Saturdays are hectic around here. It gets busy, and we thought that it would be nice to really keep us in the loop and be able to have the interaction with the baristas as we’re working on the bar with them, then have the interaction with people as they’re coming into this space. We just stopped doing that within the last month, but for nearly a year straight, it was every single Saturday, Justin and I were on bar, and occasionally if scheduling was tight, we’d fill in and help out. It’s always a great experience. Now that we’re not doing it, we’re both really missing it.

Justin: We still take opportunities during the week to hop on board, but I think mostly we just get in the way. We still have fun doing it.

Do you pick what music plays here?

Justin: That’s a tricky one. Yes. We have a pretty extensive record collection. Jerad and I have put a substantial portion down there from our home collections. We also have employees. All the staff here bring in vinyl from home.

Is that what’s playing now, the Cars on vinyl?

Jerad: Everything’s on vinyl. We have a large and eclectic collection. Lots of stuff doesn’t get played. It gets overlooked, but throughout the day we’ll have anything from the Cars to whatever, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Fleetwood Mac, Brian Eno, it’s all over the map.

If you could pull a guest bar shift at any other coffeehouse, what would it be and how come? For one day.

Jerad: That’s a good question. I would say – I’ve only ever been there once – but Intelligentsia Venice. Just because every time I go in there, it’s like, “How does this place work?” Just for the sheer enlightenment to the flow and how all the different stations work down there, I’d be really interested in doing that shift.

Justin: That is a good question. I would probably want to be outside of San Francisco Bay Area. I’d be curious to do a bar shift at Handsome down in L.A. They just have a well thought out space. I’d be curious to see the type of crowd that comes in to that part of L.A. Arts District, I’m sure you’d meet a lot of interesting people.

If you could only have one more shot of espresso, who would you have pull the shot for you?

Justin: My bro.

Jerad: Hands down.

Address: 270 7th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

[…] (咖啡烘焙機的觀景窗) 的創始人是一對來自奧勒崗州的兄弟Jerad跟Justin Morrison,其中Jerad曾在Blue […]

[…] (咖啡烘焙機的觀景窗) 的創始人是一對來自奧勒崗州的兄弟Jerad跟Justin Morrison,其中Jerad曾在Blue […]

[…] chefs all over town because of it, landing on many a dessert menu. Brothers and business partners Jerad and Justin Morrison broke off on their own after getting some mentorship from Blue Bottle’s James Freeman, and […]

[…] (咖啡烘焙機的觀景窗) 的創始人是一對來自奧勒崗州的兄弟Jerad跟Justin Morrison,其中Jerad曾在Blue […]

[…] (咖啡烘焙機的觀景窗) 的創始人是一對來自奧勒崗州的兄弟Jerad跟Justin Morrison,其中Jerad曾在Blue […]

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