We *virtually* sat down with Casey Wojtalewicz from Canyon Coffee to talk about curiosity, coffee, and ritual with intention.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! What do you love to do?
I grew up in rural Minnesota, wound up in Los Angeles for a community organizing job out of college, wound up in the music industry and toured around North America and Europe for a few years, and, in 2016, started Canyon Coffee with my partner Ally.
I have a lot of interests, so I’ll simplify by saying I’m a curious person. I’m an avid reader, a songwriter, and writing, poetry and acting have all been passions of mine over time. Though I haven’t been a full-time musician since starting Canyon, I still create and share my music.
How did you come to create Canyon Coffee?
Coffee was something Ally and I bonded over early on in our relationship. When we met, we were both traveling a lot for work and away from each other quite often. We started hunting for great local shops and roasters wherever we happened to be, and we’d send home bags of our favorites for the other to enjoy. At home together, we came to cherish waking up together and treating each other to delicious cups of coffee.
I got into the coffee world shortly thereafter, as a dishwasher and then a barista. Through my first job in the industry, we became friends with a talented roaster, our now-partner James Klapp.
Over the years, this passion for coffee continued to bloom, and at some point it all culminated in the idea that we could start a company together. It felt very right, and we had this conviction of something we wanted to share with the world. Something tangible that could convey the special feeling coffee had given us, that we could share to brighten the lives of others, in turn.
What do you hope people experience using Canyon Coffee?
Something that adds a little beauty and a little warmth to each day.
In terms of the coffee, literally, a smooth, balanced cup of coffee that’s easy to brew at home, and tastes great black—but also with milk, for those inclined.
On your website, you talk about coffee being a ritual for you and Ally! Can you say a little bit more about this?
A ritual is something done regularly, with intention. The intention is what separates it from the mundanity of routine. For us, the ritual of making a pour over every morning gives us an opportunity to be still and practice mindfulness. We become aware of the action in front of us and the emotion, or feel, we’re putting into it. This has a positive effect on our mindset, and leaves us feeling more still, calm and balanced than before.
If you could have a tea or take a Boketto moment (a moment of daydreaming and of rest) with any person dead or alive who would it be? What kind of tea would you have?
Honestly, assuming we could understand each other or have a translator, I think I’d like to have a tea with someone who lived around 15,000 years ago. Could be anyone. Ideally someone from present-day Peru or Mexico, since (1) we now know, factually, that humans were here (Western Hemisphere) as far back as 75,000 years ago and (2) we know almost nothing about those people. I think it would just be fascinating to interact with a human who saw the earth before agriculture or the wheel were invented, hear what their day-to-day concerns were, ask them about their favorite foods, things to do, etc.
What does a moment of rest, recharging, or nourishment look like for you?
Standing silent for 10 minutes in a grove of redwoods.
On the daily, though, it’s sitting with my eyes closed for twenty minutes, ideally twice a day, letting any and every thought or anxiety surface for its moment in my mind’s eye, where it can be processed and then dismissed.
It’s also enjoying a drawn out morning with a cup of coffee over a great book.
What's something you want people to know about you that I wouldn't think to ask.
I’m not sure what I’d want people to know! Sometimes people are surprised to know I take occasional breaks from caffeine, or that I only typically have 2 cups of coffee a day (always black). In other words I’m not a “coffee addict,” nor do we advocate for that lifestyle with Canyon. I guess I’d also like people to know I still make music and I believe anyone who has a creative outlet ought to maintain and nourish that spirit throughout life — regardless of your day job.
Cancer / Taurus / Virgo
Learn more about Canyon Coffee and shop their delicious blends here.
Photos by Justin Chung and David Kitz