J&M: How did you come across JM&Sons?
G: Well I was recently hired at R2 Espresso Bar, in Toronto, Canada, and they mentioned that they needed someone to make coffee for some guys who were doing a furniture pop-up… IN A SHIPPING CONTAINER… How cool is that? So I promptly volunteered. JM&Sons had developed and crafted a Pour-Over Coffee Stand that they wanted us to use to demonstrate how anyone can do great coffee with the proper tools. When I arrived to set up, I realized that I was actually inside a shipping box.
J&M: Tell us a bit around your background, where you’re from and what you do?
G: I was born in Edmonton but was raised in Mexico City. I studied photography – went the photojournalism route for a while – and then decided that graphic design would be the next step for me. After finishing my school I worked in the design and advertising industry, and one of my clients – a coffee roaster based in Italy – had a big impact on me thanks to his passion for coffee. Every single meeting we had was over food and coffee, mainly espresso. It was during that time that I learned the hard way that my body only allows 7 shots of espressos before I crash.
Espresso is an acquired taste and not everyone is willing to go that path. I acquired the taste and understood that coffee was not just bitter and black, but that it could become sweet and smooth depending on how you brew the coffee, how you steam the milk and how you serve it. Today, I am the head Barista at Soho House Toronto and couldn't be happier!
J&M: Why is design so important in your life?
G: For me design is solving a problem visually, always considering functionality no matter what the problem is. It’s not art, it’s intentional. It is not accidental. And it should never be misunderstood for any kind of decoration. Because of its complexity, design divides itself in many ways and I think that making coffee is one of them. By using the same tools, I create different drinks. Milk + espresso doesn’t mean that each drink will taste the same. A macchiato should taste different from a latte because each drink is designed to perfection.
J&M What item / items do you use on a daily basis?
G: I use two in particular: the Chemex glass and a pour-over stand (V60), which is a perfect fit with my Pour Over stand. I like using them because in my opinion you have more control over how the coffee will taste. These two items are considered slow bar techniques because sometimes it takes between 5-10 minutes from start to finish – from heating up the water to pouring the coffee in the glass. Also, I like to take my sweet time to brew a good coffee. I like to discover every single note and flavour that you can get out of a cup of coffee.
J&M: What is your favorite coffee blend or shop?
G: I enjoy Bows & Arrows (blend) and De Mello Palheta (shop).
J&M: What is the best trip you’ve been on, for work or pleasure?
G: It has to be New York City. I always thought that it was the most beautiful and interesting city in the world and I had to go. An opportunity presented itself when my girlfriend at the time became the maid of honor in her best friend’s wedding, which just so happened to be in NYC. I also had a surprise up my sleeve: why not propose in the best city with the most beautiful woman!? She said yes.