Quills Roasts Coffee

Word on the street is Quills is in the roasting biz. It’s all true. Roasting coffee has been part of our vision from the beginning, but now it's a reality. Once we landed our little roaster that could and a place to do its the thang, we have been full speed ahead.

The question of the day is who is behind this magical experience. The answer is our very own John Letoto. Hired on for his expert coffee knowledge and home roasting skills, John has taken on all parts of becoming a barista in addition to spearheading our roasting endeavors.

Spying on John as he roasts at our future New Albany location, it’s easy to see how much John loves coffee. With scribbled notes on paper, iPad documents and timers, John has it all down to an art. The complexity and the challenge is what John loves about roasting coffee.

He says it is intriguing to take something raw and make it this delicious thing that opens people’s eyes to the rich flavors coffee can have, much different than what they are brought up thinking coffee should taste like.

It is that moment that motivates John. Once someone tastes a quality roasted coffee, they are hooked, they want to know more and more. Being part of the experience that excites folks about coffee is tops on the list for John.


The support and comradery of being part of a small number of small batch coffee roasters in the country is nice too. Because there is always something to learn to further coffee, the support and info sharing done between them makes roasting better for John, and coffee quality better for everyone.

Being a part of the roasting and the brew process provides a deeper insight to the flavor profile of the coffee. Knowing how the coffee is going to be brewed allows John the chance to adjust the roasting to fit the extraction process. The details are everything.

Sniffing and watching the beans while they roast, John takes in every detail of the process. John is coffee obsessed to say the least, sharing his personal thoughts on coffee on his blog This obsession makes him a perfect fit for Team Quills. Thank you John, for all that you do.



Quills' Baristas and their Fun Times

This last week has been an exciting one in the life of a Quills barista. Besides the always new and exciting happenings on the home front, Quills' baristas have been having a blast sharing coffee with the world.

Baristas Sarah Welder, Philip Revell and Ginger Goss were drinking on the job, coffee that is. Taking in the art and fun that the Buy Local First Fair brought around. They said that it was a good day to sling coffee with other local business and were proud to be part of such a vibrant local scene. 

The Speed Museum hosted Quills' baristas John Letoto and Brittany Jarboe Jennings. Team Quills was excited to serve coffee surrounded by such fantastic art. We try to create artwork with each coffee drink we serve, so we felt right at home. 

Team Quills was excited to host the second part of Louisville's Rosettas for Relief, an effort to support those in Japan recovering from crisis.  Organized by Quills barista John Letoto and Sunergos barista Jesse Harriot, we supported the cause by doing what we do best, coffee.

The fundraiser took a fun edge on latte art competitions with bids on "smite" cards to cause a little challenge to competitors. Things were kept lively with Emily Sill as the emcee and all the Quills crew were on hand helping with raffle tickets and prizes, pour overs and picture snapping. All in a day's a work in the life of Quills barista.  


Quills' Own Competes in National Competition

One of Quills own fine baristas, Philip Revell, will be representing Louisville at the Coffee Fest Free Pour Latté Art Championship in Chicago, IL. Quills’ patrons are familiar with Philip’s beautiful designs, making tulips and Rosettas in lattés and macchiatos every chance he gets. We are so proud/impressed/elated/pumped he has been selected to compete in this national competition.

One of the nation’s largest gatherings of coffee geeks meets in different cities throughout the year. Chicago will be hosting Coffee Fest from February 18-20, a perfect opportunity to highlight all the wonderful coffee happenings in the Windy City and the Midwest region.

Coffee Fest is home to the who’s who of coffee, roasters, distributers and geeks alike. Being a part of the coffee world at large is part of Philip’s excitement. “It’s neat to think about this being a part of the coffee scene at-large, to be a part of that, competing against some of the best baristas.”

The competition will be held over three days, with four rounds including semi-finals and finals. Set up tournament style, entrants will go head-to-head, winners of each round then competing against one another. The first and second place winners will receive some hefty cash prizes, enough to make anyone get practicing on the steam wand.

Philip will be going up against sixty-three other competitors, selected from a photographic portfolio of design submissions. “Because it’s such a big competition, I thought I would get in. But then I saw the bracket and I was like ‘Wow, this is a big deal’,” Philip said of his acceptance. Sixty-four competitors may seem like a lot compared to the fifteen or twenty that are in the local competitions, but considering Coffee Fest draws thousands of people, to be part of this selection process says a lot about the skill Philip brings to the table.

Philip will be hailing Louisville along with Sunergos baristas Kenny Smith and Jessie Harriot and local native Ryan Soeder. This cadre of coffee aficionados will be helping to put Louisville on the coffee coinsure map.  

Even though the competition is serious and entrants are obviously going to win, the Louisville coffee scene has been a place of learning and growth and that extends to the competition. “Everyone is really excited about going. They’ve been supportive of me,” Philip said of the encouragement he received from the other Louisville baristas.

The coffee culture in Louisville has been growing dramatically over the last two years and this influx of baristas into Coffee Fest is a mark to the level of skill and commitment to coffee happening in our home city. 

More about Coffee Fest:

More Latté Art:

Barista of the Week: Kent Plenge

Barista of the Week: Kent Plenge

Secret Weapon: German aficionado. "Ich bin Kaffee"

Current Aural Enjoyment: metal. 

Is the Proprietor of: an Innumerable amount of tattoos. 

Loves the Text: Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan

Incognito Aspiration: To be an Astro-Physicist. 

Guilty Pleasure: "I am supposed to feel guilty about something in which I find pleasure?"

Heros of Influence: "Conan the Barbarian and my dad, I thought he was Indiana Jones when I was little."

Coffee Drink of Choice: Iced Americano. So good. 

Barista Love: "The science of coffee."

Word around the campfire about Kent: "A real sweetheart. A softy and a hard worker, so much to love." 


Travel: Windy City Coffee Extravaganza

Quills baristas love Chicago, it’s true. When we make a getaway to the Windy City, what else could we do but venture to some of the finest coffee establishments in the country? One of our favorite hot spots is the infamous Intelligentsia Coffee. With multiple locations around the city, it’s easy to locate a spot near a Chicago fun time destination. A real inspiration to aspiring espresso bars, the high quality and attention Intelligentsia pays to coffee is unparalleled. Aiming equally for high quality coffee roasting, barista training and shop experience, Intelli gives specialty coffee shops a run for their money. On any random visit an array of high quality, delicious beans can be found for purchase, a barista champ on bar to deliver, and a cozy yet classy atmosphere to take it all in. Chicago coffee win.

But Intelligentsia isn’t the only shop in town we love. Star Lounge on Chicago Ave is also a favorite. Friendly and knowledgeable staff that love talking one-on-one about their air roasting process, their hand selected goodies and methods of brewing, this unassuming shop is a real gem. Pulling ristretto shots for their espresso drinks, or a short, thicker extraction, Star Lounge adds a twist to traditional espresso bar standards.

Kickstand, a small espresso bar located on the edge of Boystown on Belmont Ave, is a bright spot in the colorful neighborhood. The bright blue walls and colorful paintings are a different twist to the typical brown and whites of coffee shops that adds to the fun atmosphere of the shop. Serving Metropolis coffee, another Chicago favorite, this shop does the high quality coffee justice.

Slinging espresso is a fun but tough gig. All hale fellow baristas, much love to you.

Barista of the Week: Allie Sailor

Barista of the Week: Allie Sailor

Secret Avenger of: Middle Eastern Languages; Turkish sounds super rad. 

Last Spontaneous Adventure: Grocery Shopping, with no list!

Guilty Pleasures: Science Fiction and Rap music. Mutually exclusive, of course.

Dream Weaver: As a young lass she aspired to be Indiana Jones. It's not too late, Allie. The lasso might come in handy. 

Love of Louisville: The perfect combo of Southern and Northern Culture. 

Coffee Drink of Choice: Café Solo of PT's Panama Elida Estate. The total Jam. 

Barista Inspiration: "I like being part of a group of people that collectively push each other to work towards being the best coffee shop in Louisville."

Word around the Espresso Machine: "Allie is on top of it. Whatever's going on Allie is working hard to make it right."


Barista of the Week: Philip Revell

Barista of the Week: Philip Revell

Currently Immersed in the Harmonies of: Till The Sun Turns Black by Ray LaMontagne

Thrill of Life: Expedited himself on a whim to Chicago to enjoy the wide range of coffee happenings. Four days of coffee, who needs to sleep anyway?

Playground Excitement: The Swings. The most dangerous and the most exhilarating. 

Love of Louisville: That people make it their own. 

Coffee Drink of Choice: Espresso Accapiato. It's Perfect. 

Coffee Roots are Measurable: "I tend to be analytical about everything I do. The world of coffee is so vast, there is so much to learn, so much to experience. Both the science and the art behind it really fascinate me."

Word on the Street: "Philip enjoys good dialogue and good coffee. What more is there?"