Shared from the 11/25/2015 The Kansas City Star Ink eEdition

A KC java man gains ground

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SHANE KEYSER skeyser@kcstar.com

Coffee. For Prairie Village resident Zach Tarhini, 27, it’s personal, intimate.

His Meta Coffee Roasting Co. is a microroaster.

“It becomes more than just a drink. It becomes more of a ritual.”

As the owner, operator and only employee of Meta Coffee Roasting Co., he buys his coffee beans from farmers. They have to be sustainably and organically grown, and, most importantly, “they have to taste really good for me to buy them.”

Tarhini personally selects all coffee he sells and then roasts and bags it in small batches in his converted basement.

His coffee beans are single-origin. No blends here. Tarhini currently has coffee from Peru, Guatemala and Costa Rica.

“I get samples of coffee from various farms and regions — green, raw coffee.” he said. “I profile the coffee, roast it different ways to see what works best and how it reacts to different temperatures and air-flow settings.”

Tarhini, whose heritage is Lebanese, started drinking coffee in college at KU. Eventually, roasting coffee became a burning desire.

“The KC hobby scene has been blowing up over the last few years, so I bought all of the books I could about roasting, bought a roaster, set up with some importers, and the process began.”

He opened Meta Coffee Roasting Co. in June. Find it at metacoffeekc.com.

Meta myself: “Meta is just me. I do the roasting, the social media, the pop-up (shops), the brewing — whatever’s involved, it’s just me. I buy all of the green coffee and deal with the importers and of course I get a lot of support from friends and family.”

Feeling the buzz: “I started drinking coffee in college but I don’t think I became a coffee snob or connoisseur until later. It was a slow progression. There wasn’t one cup that changed my life. You grow to appreciate it and pick out the subtleties, what you like, and it grows from there. … Whatever you care about, you tend to learn more about.”

Bean around the world: “Coffee is really unique because it’s such a global drink: appreciated around the world and in different ways, too. I think that’s what’s really cool about it. Some of the best ideas and philosophical thoughts are hashed out over cups of coffee … it’s a uniting force but a global force as well.”

Coffee talk: Tarhini selects organic, fair trade, sustainably grown coffee. “Organic, that’s something that I normally do in my life. I try to eat organic, and local food as well …being sustainable and taking care of the Earth is important to me too. And fair trade, with the farmers working as hard as they do, they deserve decent wages.”

Fresh-brewed: Meta Coffee’s offerings are always changing, so prices depend on the coffee. Prices range from $9 for 8 ounces to $16.50 for a pound.

“IT BECOMES MORE THAN JUST A DRINK. IT BECOMES MORE OF A RITUAL.”
Zach Tarhini, Meta Coffee Roasting Co.

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