Staff Feature: Tamara South

Staff Feature: Tamara South

Jan 17, 2018Stephen Robertson

We always struggle a little bit with job titles because our relatively small staff ends up wearing a lot of different hats throughout the course of the work-week. Tamara South, for lack of an all inclusive title, is the Shop Manager. If you've ever placed a wholesale order or ordered coffee from our web-store, Tamara made sure your order made it from invoice to delivery without any issues.  She also takes the lead in making sure our company is as sustainable and responsible as possible by organizing and managing community involvement initiatives both locally and at origin. In short, Blanchard's relies on Tamara to keep everything running smooth while remaining committed to community and relationships.

What is your favorite Blanchard's Coffee right now?
Can I have more than one favorite? My tried and true (go to?) favorite coffee we're roasting at the moment is Nicaragua Finca San Jose. In addition to being tasty in a cozy, familiar way the coffee from San Jose has a flavor that reminds me of buttery toast with sweet cherry jam. Every time I drink this coffee it reminds me of the time I spent on the farm in Nicaragua and the people whose hands it has passed through on it's way to our roastery. My second favorite is the Kenya Irati AB because to me it kind of tastes like a Sour Patch Kid - my favorite candy. Whenever we are cupping as a group at Blanchard's and a Kenyan is on the table it's almost a given that I will choose the Kenya as my favorite. I love the sour fruit juice flavor that is typical of a coffee from Kenya. 


What is your favorite part of working in coffee?
Growing up, I wanted to help people. I dreamed of being a nurse or a teacher but then I found out that I don't have the stomach for nursing or the patience to be a teacher. Working in coffee shops as a barista was something I did to make a living and, as it turns out, I really liked making people happy and getting to know each regular's special order. I found myself really respecting the craft of making coffee and appreciating the connection that I made with customers. Being at Blanchard's and seeing this side of coffee production has been completely eye opening and I've gained so much respect for the entire supply chain and the amount of work that it takes to produce just one cup of coffee. Blanchard's has given me the chance to help people in coffee growing regions by extending our support to humanitarian efforts to those regions. I have connected with people on the farm, and with their help and the support of our community in Richmond, executed projects to better the lives of people working at Nicaragua's Finca San Jose. That will always be something that I treasure about coffee.
What is your favorite thing about living in Richmond?
On of my favorite things about living in Richmond is having access to the James River and the activities it offers. Walking our dog on the trails of the river is great on a nice day. The old historic Manchester train trestles on the south side of the river offers rock climbing within the city limits..and kayaking around the Huguenot Flatwaters (because I don't like rapids). The river offers something for everyone. I like that about it.  
Also, it would be shame to talk about Richmond without mentioning my favorite food, right?  I live for pies, especially savory pies and will make the trek to Churchill for a hot savory vegan pie from Proper Pie.
What is your home coffee set-up?
I'm the only person who drinks coffee at home! My boyfriend drinks tea *rolls eyes* So it's less fun because I'm only brewing for myself but that makes it easy. On weekends, I will make one french press (usually something more savory like Nicaragua San Jose, Colombia El Obraje, or Handshake) and drink it all from a giant mug before we head out the door. I usually don't make coffee at home during the week because I know I can make a better cup at work in the shop in the morning. 
What is your go-to brewing method when you brew coffee at Blanchard's?
My go to brewing method is the Hario V60. In my opinion, the V60 offers the best clarity, and more precise control over brew time, extraction, and volume. It's something I can easily wrap my head around as it was the first pour over method I learned (thanks, Seth!). I can't help but come back to it when I want a really great cup of coffee.  
Go-to recipe?
Hario V60 pourover: 
21g coffee ground medium to fine (like salt)
30 second bloom
Pour in pulses every 10-15 seconds slowly in a spiral until the scale reaches 360g
(about a 1:17 ratio)
Total brew time: 3:00 minutes.

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