Coffee: Goodboybob coffee will host the event at 2058 Broadway. Courtesy photo

Brynn Shaffer / SMDP Intern

In part of their “Top Dog presents” series, local espresso bar goodboybob is collaborating with FRINJ coffee, a California-harvested roastery, for a unique coffee tasting, celebrating tastes from around America.

This Saturday, July 16 at 2 p.m., individuals are invited to join a discussion and tasting experience, featuring light and medium roasts from Santa Barbara and Kona, Hawaii, free of charge. All attendees will receive a tasting flight of three cups of fresh brew, their selection of complimentary pastries, as well as a 20 percent discount on the event’s featured coffees.

“I think people often drink coffee, but don’t taste coffee,” said Jay Ruskey, co-founder and CEO of FRINJ, whose goal is to make people more appreciative of the fine tastes coffee has to offer. He strives for people to think of coffee in the same regard people think of when it comes to wine. 

“Sometimes, I struggle with how people will order a glass of wine for $15 and not think about it, but a $7 cup of coffee will freak them out,” said Ruskey. “The amount of work in what the farmer gets for that cup of coffee doesn’t equate back to wine.”

After years of selling at farmers markets, Ruskey began harvesting coffee beans in 2000 when he was looking to grow new crops and received several recommendations from fellow farm advisors. Over the course of 15 years, Ruskey grew coffee beans, and as consumers became more interested in fine coffees, he saw the value of creating his own brand of craft coffee. Ruskey officially founded FRINJ in 2017 alongside Andy Mullins, Juan Medrano and Lindsey Mesta.

According to Ruskey, there are so many advantages of farming coffee locally as opposed to importing from overseas, both from a production and quality standpoint. Due to California’s cool climate and change in latitude, farmers can mimic high cups of coffee that are representative of some of the finest coffees from the highest elevations of Central America.

Additionally, respect for farmers is at the heart of FRINJ’s philosophy. Because of the mindful cultivation and artistry that goes into producing each cup, the company believes the money is best spent reinvesting in the plants, land and people that make it a reality.

“We make sure the farmer gets half of the value back in his pocket,” said Ruskey. “That’s another advantage of buying FRINJ Coffee is that we’re farmer founded and we do everything we can to make sure the farmer benefits from growing coffee.”

Ruskey will be leading the experience, beginning with a demonstration on how to hand-brew the coffee with a presentation on each cup, before attendees will be given their individual tasting flight with complimentary bites to eat, made from locally-sourced ingredients like caviar limes and passionfruit. 

“I think a lot of avid coffee drinkers don’t really get the chance to meet people like that, on the opposite end,” said Josh Choe, director of stores for goodboybob. “You know, they meet the baristas, sometimes they meet roasters or owners of coffee companies, but farmers … it’s such a different experience.”

The tasting will be followed by a live Q&A and will wrap up around 3:15 p.m.

Those interested in participating can meet at 2058 Broadway or RSVP here: