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La Terza Team: Chuck Pfahler

Meet Chuck, La Terza’s original founder!

What is your role at La Terza?

Chuck is the original founder of La Terza and is now a coffee instructor and researcher for us. As he says, “I pretty much do a combination of everything relating to the coffee. Every day is different.”He works with numerous accounts, trains aspiring roasters and baristas, and is our coffee class teacher. He says, “The beauty of being able to work in every aspect of the company is that you get to communicate with the individual farms overseas to source the beans and then see the final product evolve through the roasting and cupping process.”

Chuck created La Terza 16 years ago after an intriguing experiencewith a popcorn maker.  A friend of his began roasting coffee in a popcorn maker and sparked Chuck’s interest toward the roasting process. “Something resonated in me that I could manipulate the coffee with my hands and then have an instantly rewarding product,” he says.

As it turns out, Chuck’s passion was right in front of him his whole life, and coffee truly gave him the opportunity to develop the lifestyle he wanted. “There is a joy that exists when I can find a great green coffee, roast it beautifully, and then share it with others.” Chuck loves how coffee instantly connects people. He says, “I want to do business the right way; not ripping off farmers, not taking shortcuts and making sure that I don’t cause harm to farmers in other countries, but instead add to the food on their table.”

Tell us about yourself! What is your background? Where did you grow up?

Chuck grew up in Cincinnati and is one of six children. Since he lived in several different neighborhoods throughout the city during his childhood, he says, “I’m not connected to one community; Cincinnati as a whole feels like home.” He has worked a variety jobs including making pizzas, working in a nursing home, and now, of course, his job as a coffee guru! He is newly married to Nora, who is a set designer for film and photo. He has three daughters and she has two boys. Chuck remarks, “My family is kind of like the Brady Bunch.”

Why do you like working with La Terza?

Chuck reflects on his journey building the company, saying, “Having created something and seeing it come to fruition with its own life is so rewarding. I will always feel deeply connected to the organization. It is deeply satisfying to know that the company came from absolutely nothing and now I have the privilege of being along for the ride. It’s just awesome.”

What is your favorite type of coffee?

“I have really been enjoying the Brazil Mogiano. I love a good natural coffee.” He is also very excited about the opportunity for our new Peruvian coffee in terms of it cupping qualities. “I love the possibility that this coffee brings us to make a deeper connection to the farm.” The Peruvian coffee is direct trade, meaning that La Terza buys and sources the coffee directly from the coffee farm in Peru, eliminating traditional middleman buyers and sellers. (We value the intermediaries too, but as a micro-roaster, we don’t have the capacity to buy as many beans. However, we know it’s important to honor the relations of the ‘big guys,’ who can help grow the industry on a large scale as well.)

What’s a fun fact about you?

One of Chuck’s favorite things to do is to explore other countries.  He loves international travel and has been to India, Haiti, Nepal, Guatemala, Peru, Israel, and Turkey.

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