Learn to roast coffee like a pro at Qualia Coffee in Petworth

While many of D.C.’s summer interns will spend the next few months getting someone else’s coffee, a few lucky interns at Qualia Coffee will actually learn to roast their own.

The quirky Petworth coffeeshop/roasting company/good brew evangelist is looking for interns to learn the trade, says Qualia’s owner and roastmaster, Joel Finkelstein. Finkelstein currently roasts all the beans that Qualia sells in-house and at local farmers markets, but demand is up ... and there’s no one to man the roaster when he has jury duty.


Joel Finkelstein at Qualia Coffee in Petworth (Tim Carman)

Interns will learn the ins and outs of roasting -- a pretty complicated process and “a unique skill set,” Finkelstein says -- before the best roaster(s) join the shop on a more permanent basis. The positions are unpaid, but “a copious amount of free coffee” is promised.

Applicants need only have “a deep and abiding interest in coffee as a natural product” and a flexible schedule. That being said, however, Finkelstein wouldn’t mind educating some culinary types on the virtues of a well-roasted bean -- a mission he’s been on for years. (This is, after all, the guy who challenged local restaurants to brew a better cup than him -- if he lost, they got three pounds of coffee.)

“I don't really have a good platform right now and I am hoping some culinary types will be interested,” he wrote in an email. “Even if they are not looking for a long-term situation, hopefully they can take away and disseminate some useful knowledge.”

Qualia made a neat little video on its roasting process last year, which you can watch below.

Caitlin Dewey runs The Intersect blog, writing about digital and Internet culture. Before joining the Post, she was an associate online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
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