Meet Our Roastmasters

Nate Hrobak

Nate Hrobak

Caribou Roastmaster since 2003

When Nate isn't busy honing his razor-sharp palate to discern the floral notes from the fruits in the finishes of fine coffee, you may find him repairing or restoring one of his many coffee-brewing devices. From espresso to filter drip to field brewing techniques, rarely a day goes by without some care given to coffee.

Nate has been told he bears a remarkable resemblance to Danny Gokey (American Idol - Season 8 contestant).

He subscribes to Merriam Webster's word of the day E-mail, and wishes the rest of the world would do the same.

Nate takes one for the team during company functions (like sumo wrestling).

He detects hints of jasmine and rhubarb in coffee when everyone else just detects caffeine.

Nate is lucky to be surrounded by kind and generous friends and family, most of whom really just want him to make them a cup of coffee.

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Brian Aliffi

Brian Aliffi

Caribou Roastmaster since 2005

Brian loves to cycle in temps of the mid-70s with light winds, but takes what he can get.

He prefers the company of cats to most people.

Brian could recite the script from the last half of (what used to be known as the first Star Wars) Star Wars IV: A New Hope until his mid-twenties. He's not sure why he didn't know the whole thing.

Brian would take an iPod filled only with music by the White Stripes to a desert island over sensible things like sunscreen and water.

He learned photography to hang out the door of SH-60 helicopters and take pictures of Soviet-era nuclear ballistic missile submarines while in the Navy.

Brian won't remember your name 5 minutes after meeting you but has many other endearing qualities to make up for it.

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Brett Struwe

Brett Struwe

Caribou Roastmaster since 1995

Working as a Roastmaster in one of the world's finest coffee kitchens ain't so shabby. And that's exactly what I get to do. Pursuing excellence in every aspect of roast, grind, packaging and blending is a passion of commitment -- and getting to taste coffee all day long is just one of the side benefits. But then, if you love coffee, you understand it isn't a coincidence that I've been around Caribou for 20 years.

Ultimately coffee is a product made expressly for the sake of enjoyment. It has basically no nutritional value, and is the world's most widely consumed beverage, not to mention its most widely-available stimulant. We're in the happiness business around here. Consider also that Scandinavians consume more coffee per capita than anyone else in the world and have the longest life expectancy and you come to understand we're in the health foods business too. And it doesn't get any better than Caribou.

When I'm not perfecting the next blend or roast or fiddling with one of my many at-home coffee makers I'm usually playing with my children or reading something creative and journalistic. And on an extremely rare occassion you'll find me at the gym training to be the one of the most mediocre amateur triathletes you'd ever have chance to see.

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