It’s about 5:30 pm on a particularly dreary Monday afternoon and Matt Scottoline is sitting across from me, politely trying his darndest to hide his feelings of horror towards news I just shared with him. “I always tell people that if you want to buy better coffee, the best thing you can do is only buy coffee that has a roast date printed on the bag,” he offers half-optimistically, half-pitifully, attempting to guide the low-life caffeine junkie that I am towards a more moderately respectable life direction.
We’re chatting at a small table at Fishtown’s ReAnimator Coffee — Philly’s premiere specialty micro brew roaster, where Scottoline works when he’s not power-pop rocking as frontman of Hurry — and I had just told him that I frequently purchase and drink the likes of Maxewell House and Folgers.
As Scottoline takes intermittent swigs from an extra tall boy of fizzy water (trying to, I’m sure, calm his unease of speaking with such a brew plebeian, or maybe more realistically because he drinks coffee all day long) I’m sipping some of ReAnimator’s drip coffee black, which reminds me like a good ole’ slap to the face that a cup of joe can be more than just some bitter bean juice. By George, it can actually taste good too.
Man, who knew that’s what happens when people put time and intricate care into their work? Because that’s what Scottoline and the crew does here. Helping his friends Mark Corpus and Mark Capriotti when they opened the shop a little more than a few years back, Scottoline stuck around working at the café until eventually evolving into his current position as Director of Coffee. This simultaneously epic and simply-named title entails tasks such as figuring out what coffees to buy and roast, and essentially handling quality control.
Basically, he’s ReAnimator’s coffee grounds-keeper. And though we only spoke on the topic for a few minutes in lighthearted fun, it was easy to gather the level of seriousness he puts into this work. The same is true for his other artistic project, Hurry. Continue reading →