Meet our Head Roaster!
Bret Ivy is the Head Roaster for Messenger Coffee. He is the craftsman of our coffee, taking green coffee beans from our farm partners and meticulously roasting them to create our signature flavor profiles.
How did you get started in coffee?
“I am originally from the small town of Neodesha, KS, about a three-hour drive south of Kansas City. I began working in coffee in 2015 and fell in love with coffee and where it comes from.
“The first coffee I had that changed my mind as to how different coffee could taste was a Natural Ethiopian coffee from Messenger. A couple of years later, I took a barista job at Nomads, a coffee shop and cocktail bar that was a wholesale partner with Messenger. After an introductory tasting with the Messenger team, I was so impressed with how much care and effort they put into their coffee knowledge and the importance of their relationships with coffee producers around the world.
“I knew that someday I wanted to be a part of that, even in the smallest ways.”
What coffee are you most excited about right now?
“The Washed coffees from Ethiopia from this year's harvest have been exceptional.
“While I used to crave only Natural processed coffees, I have truly fallen in love with Washed process coffees. They typically have so much complexity and lively flavor that it makes for an experiential cup, brew after brew.
“Our current offering, Naga Singage, is super bright, fruity, and wonderful floral characteristics make me want to return exciting: incredibly complex, super bright and fruity and wonderful floral characteristics make me want to keep coming back to this coffee.”
Where is the world of coffee headed?
“Coffee roasting is in a really cool place right now. There are so many incredible specialty coffee roasters around the world, and we are incredibly lucky to have some awesome roasters here in Kansas City.
“In specialty, there is a current trend of roasting coffee very light, to highlight the specifics of the origin and what makes that coffee special. This is done by roasting very fast and hot, in order to not impart roast characteristics. This, however, has some inherent issues, the main one being under-development. The best way I have understood this phrase is in terms of cooking: If a person were to order a steak rare, that steak would not have a cook through the middle. For coffee, if a bean is not cooked all the way through, it could lead to unpleasant characteristics that make a coffee taste grassy, overly acidic or vegetative.
“In roasting, every coffee has a target. For some coffees, that target is very big and easy to hit and for some others, it’s very hard to find. I believe that with roasters gaining more knowledge, having access to tools that increase consistency and sharing information with other roasters, we will begin to see more targets being hit for coffees that are sometimes harder to find.”
What is your advice for coffee newbies?
“It’s okay to like what you like! If you like drinking coffee with cream and sugar that's awesome; if you like a latte with fun seasonal flavors that’s great! I didn’t have coffee without cream until I was working in coffee, so I will never discourage it. The key is to always be willing to explore and experiment; you’ll never know what you like or don’t like unless you try.”
Continue your coffee education with our Head Roaster! Check out our Brewing with Bret Instagram reel series.