After more than 15 years in the coffee industry, Gabriel Boscana set out to forge his own path with Máquina Coffee. While Gabe is somewhat of a one-man show, he isn’t in this alone — relationships are at the heart of Máquina, through representation of producers, initiatives at origin, and the local support of the Coatesville, Pennsylvania community, which serves as a reminder that “Great coffee should be accessible to everyone.”
After a brief break — during which it opened a whole new roasting facility— we welcome Máquina back to Trade with a conversation on what makes this small roaster such a force.
How does your community impact Máquina?
We are in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, but community is everywhere. We are starting to source even more approachable coffees while still leaving room for unique coffees that will blow your mind.
Operating out of Coatesville, in a community that isn't "in the know" about "fancy coffee," pushes us to remind ourselves that delicious coffee should be for everyone and not just a select few.
Tell us about your new roastery
I began roasting out of my garage in 2016, in tiny batches on a beat up workhorse Probat L5 (now loved and cared for by Alex of Littlefoot Coffee Roasters!) I wanted to find something that was in a more industrial space and more culturally diverse area, where people didn’t have a ton of access to great coffee so that Máquina could potentially be a small business with positive impact.
I’ve been in specialty coffee 20 years this coming summer — I really wanted to make a mark with great and approachable coffees, finally.
Describe Máquina's overall personality
Chill and friendly vibes. We love to have fun and not take ourselves too seriously. We take roasting coffee to heart, because we intimately know the effort it takes to bring it to the roaster.
We care about people and the world around us. We use coffee as a vehicle for connection, to do some good.
What is Máquina's approach to sourcing?
I source via relationships I’ve built at origin and with stellar importers, exporters, and producers. I source clean and sweet coffees, which hold promise for long-term sustainable relationships.
The goal for the Máquina menu is to have a variety of coffees with very different flavor profiles from one another, but all exhibiting sweetness, complexity, clean finishes, and some story to tell about the origin. I source from people I trust, and once a relationship is formed I will continue to source from them year after year as long as our goals are aligned.
What do you hope to teach the next generation about coffee?
The next generation should understand how coffee gets to us, the work and effort and sacrifices made for us to be able to drink this beverage. Also, that there are ways to make a living that are not at the expense of producers who always bear the brunt of our poor decisions on this side of the equation.
That’s what I teach my daughter, Millie, that people matter, always. Getting young people interested will keep young people at origin interested in maintaining the production of coffee on their family’s farm. If they see the future on this side, they can count on selling their product and that it is all worth it.
We must agree that we both have work to do, but we have way more to do on our end to be able to better support the people that allow us to do what we do with coffee.
Tell us about your logo and its significance
The logo is a representation of the tension and the great products that can come about from human and machine. We need machinery and artisans who care to make great coffee. From density sorters and mills at origin to roasters to espresso machines.
Humans, the operators, are also incredibly important in delivering quality. Máquina means machine in Spanish. I am a proud Puerto Rican and wanted my company's name to be in Spanish. It's an homage to the roaster, which is my partner in the quest for delicious coffee. I love roasting coffee, and am always aware of the work of the producers. Hand and machine.
How has 2020 impacted Máquina?
Covid impacted Máquina in delaying the buildout of the roastery and shifting our focus away from service retail to more direct to consumer and being a solid support to our wholesale partners.
Eventually we will open a shop, but it’s not the right time now. Having our own space though, in 2020, was a game changer. Our business almost doubled in a few weeks. People wanted to feel connected to the person who was caring for their coffee and that was obvious by the response!
Where do you see Máquina in five years?
I hope we have purchased a bigger roaster and moved to a bigger roasting space in five years. I hope we have one shop open and that we are on our way to changing both the reality and perception of a brown-owned business that is both committed to the local community and employees and those at origin producing the coffees on our menu.
I want to be able to tell you of all the socioeconomic initiatives at origin, and about the positive impacts of responsible capitalism at its finest. Coffee equals people — this is a fundamental truth and we want to have the opportunity to run a company that truly puts people first. This is a long game. You put people first and success follows.