Practice makes perfect
EC: 90-Year-Old Coffee Company Owner Has Been Testing His Roast Every Day for 70 Years
Credit: Photo by Miami Herald via Getty Images

There's a lot to be said about dedication to a craft, and that's especially true when it comes to making a perfect cup of coffee. For Stephen Kaloyanides, the 90-year-old owner of New England Coffee, that means taste-testing his roasts every single day for the past 70 years. Kaloyanides has run New England Coffee's day-to-day operations since he took over for his father in 1946. A major component of that responsibility is quality control, which means the boss needs to cup (the official term for taste-testing coffee) his roasts every morning to make sure his beans are up to snuff.

But for a guy who's life has revolved around coffee, Kaloyanides didn't have much of a taste for it growing up. “I preferred milk to coffee,” Kaloyanides told CBS Boston. In fact, he only began to enjoy it after entering the Navy in the 1940s. By the time he got out, he developed enough of a taste for it that he could be responsible for running New England Coffee, learning the ropes behind roasting, blending, and taste testing for consistency. Good thing he did, otherwise the last seven decades would have been a little bit of a drag if he hadn't.

Kaloyanides has been cupping coffee since day one—checking each roast for consistency and quality. And even though coffee cupping has recently become a hip new way to experience the drink, the boss has been perfecting the art for decades before it became cool. No surprise, then, that he calls the process the "sip and spit." And with all those years of practice, Kaloyanides can track a bean down to its region based on taste alone. Better yet, he can taste it when a quaker bean has made its way into the batch, often requiring the company to send back over a thousand pounds of coffee as a result.

Even though Kaloyanides has overseen his coffee empire for ages, he hasn't talked about retiring any time soon. He's not going anywhere for now—after all, there are too many cups of coffee waiting for him out there.