Most people don’t consider becoming a certified sommelier a prerequisite to opening a coffee shop.
But that’s what Ariana Akbar did before she opened Hearth Coffee Roasters in the Castro neighborhood with her husband, James Kafader; the couple previously owned Brown Owl Coffee on Taraval Street.
Instead of a wine-focused cafe, Akbar wanted to use her training to pair the organic single-origin coffees she and Kafader roast with bites from pastry chef Megan Bovis. “I wanted to see how they teach wine pairing with food and how the same discussion might work with coffee,” says Akbar.
When Hearth opened last fall, the couple were roasting an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe with blueberry and chocolate notes, so Bovis baked blueberry chocolate ganache brownie bites to go with it. “We wanted to see how the unique origin of the coffee could be paired with food,” says Akbar. (read more)