Creative Class: Adam Shaw, Deeper Roots Coffee


For our April 2017 issue, we examine how creatives are remaking the Queen city.

Age: 30

Company: Deeper Roots Coffee. “It’s a nod to the type of relationship we’re trying to develop with coffee producers.”

Job: Lead roaster, green buyer, and co-owner

The goal: Make excellent specialty coffee, crop to cup. That means sourcing it ethically, in a way that boosts the growers’ communities, as well as offering local barista training and machine maintenance.

Adam Shaw

Portrait by Aaron M. Conway

The gig: “A little bit of everything in the supply chain of coffee except the farming itself.” Shaw tests and sources raw (green) coffee from around the world—which, in this business model, involves building relationships with farmers and farm cooperatives, and predicting how much he’ll need to purchase. When the beans arrive, he taste tests until he finds the best roast for each individual coffee. Plus, he runs Deeper Roots’ social media.

On patience: “In my previous life before coffee, I was an engineer at a small company. Everything was efficient: Communication had systems; and projects had discrete timeframes. When I moved to a more people-focused business I had to learn that people aren’t as efficient as machines.”

His advice: “Know from the get-go that you are accountable to co-owners and they’re accountable to you—that you don’t necessarily get total say on something. Then you can use that as an asset, instead of being blindsided by it later.”

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