Lance Hedrick is fast becoming one of the most recognisable names in the world of coffee today. Most notably for his YouTube channel which has been taken to the heart of the coffee community around the globe.
Listening to Lance and his passion for coffee had me captivated!
I wanted to know more about what inspired him and his coffee journey.
I reached out to Lance and he kindly took some time to answer my questions.
I hope you enjoy the interview!
For anyone that may not be aware can you briefly introduce yourself?
Hey! My name is Lance and I am the head of wholesale at Onyx Coffee Lab. I’ve been working in coffee for about 7 years, and before that, I was in academia pursuing linguistics and philosophy.
What are your passions outside of coffee?
A lot. Haha! I’m about as nerdy about tea, bourbon, movies, books (specifically Marxist texts and 20th French and German philosophy), and most any sport as I am about coffee.
How did you first discover specialty coffee and what was the first brewing method that you used?
I first discovered specialty coffee while working at a traditional coffee shop during grad school. My boss and good friend would bring me and other baristas to his office and brew us coffee on his odd looking devices (I now know them as a V60, Kalita, Syphon, Aeropress, etc). The first time I was blown away by specialty coffee was, coincidentally, a naturally processed Ethiopia by Onyx Coffee Lab, who would go on to be my eventual employer haha!
You are a successful latte art and brewers cup competitor. How did you get involved in competing and what would your advice be for any budding latte art/brewers cup competitors?
I am a competitive person by nature. I’ve been competing in everything since I was 3, whether it be sports, singing, or academic challenges, I’ve always loved the thrill of pitting myself against others. The obsession with latte art competitions was born more out of financial necessity than enjoyment, but I digress. Transitioning to Brewer’s Cup was a natural progression, I’d say, once I joined the team at Onyx. Getting into those types of competitions is quite difficult unless working for a company that can support and equip you.
My advice would be to view competition lightheartedly. You will quickly make a slew of enemies if you come into competitions with the sole purpose of winning. Take the competition seriously, but focus first and foremost on community.
Can you give us an insight into your role at Onyx Coffee Lab and what a day in the life involves for you?
At Onyx, I am the head of wholesale. I oversee the wholesale department (me and one other haha!) and am also in charge of international and west coast sales for Onyx. This involves me reaching out to coffee shops and creating relationships with people. Our goal at Onyx is to equip people with the highest quality coffees accompanied by the highest quality service.
You have a YouTube channel which has become really popular within the online coffee community, what inspired you to start your channel?
The lack of trustworthy sources mixed with the gate kept knowledge in the actual coffee professional world both worked as as catalysts to start the channel. I was an underpaid and work abused barista and understand the impossibility of growing within the coffee world without proper training. So, I thought I would use my privilege and experience by offering up what I’ve learned over the years to anyone who is willing to listen.
I definitely think my pedigree and pedagogy both make my content somewhat valuable, if that doesn’t sound too conceited. I’m happy to be creating content that is digestible for anyone from beginner home enthusiasts to seasoned veterans.
Is there anyone in the coffee industry that inspires you or that has influenced you?
Oh so many I can’t even begin! But I’ll try.
Andrea and Jon Allen- co owners of Onyx and two of my coffee heroes. I literally moved TO ARKANSAS to work for Onyx. I’m not quiet about my disdain for this state, but I wanted to work for these legends. People always say “don’t meet your heroes,” but that adage doesn’t apply with this power couple. I’m still inspired by them daily.
Nicely- Christopher “Nicely” Alameda is an incredibly well known barista within the coffee world. He pioneered most of what we see today in latte art. In addition, he took me under his wing early on in my coffee career. He taught me loads about bar flow, customer service, and more.
Jonathan Gagne- Jonathan is an astrophysicist who has been applying his research background to coffee. HIs contributions to the coffee world are not to be overlooked. I recommend anyone reading this to check out his blog Coffee Ad Astra.
Veronica Grimm- Veronica started the inspirational Glitter Car Barista. She is an incredible leader in the coffee world and is someone to whom I look for motivation and inspiration.
Umeko- Umeshiso is a beloved person in the coffee world. They are a fantastically creative and brilliant human doing what they can to affect positive change in the industry. Plus, they make just incredible cupping spoons!
Do you have a favourite coffee origin and what tasting notes do you look for?
Yes. Ethiopia. I am so into high grown washed Ethiopia coffees. Dense sweetness, high florality, yum.
Do you have any upcoming projects that we should keep a look out for?
I’m always working on something… for right now, mostly trying to gain my footing with Youtube, but I am always looking to the future!