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Meet the Team - Paul Allen

Paul Allen and his recent bride Rachel, decided that they’d come to the U.S. from his native New Zealand, and live for one year in Newberg, Oregon, which is Rachel’s home town.  They wanted to be near her family and give their kids a chance to get to know their American cousins. That was over two decades ago. It’s true that it was romantic love that motivated Paul Allen to cross two hemispheres and come visit Newberg, but it’s safe to say that a passionate love affair with coffee may have kept him here.  That was twenty-two years ago, when Paul first met Caravan Coffee founder, Pete Miller, and started packaging coffee and driving the delivery route for the company. But there’s a lot more to the story. 

Paul grew up in New Zealand.  In college he earned a degree in Science, and the scientific method is something he highly values to this day.  Paul also lived in England for three years, making a meager living by driving a huge bus loaded with tourists, transporting them to some of the finest ski resorts in Europe.  In addition to driving the coach, he was a ski instructor, and led the groups through Europe. 

While living the skiing lifestyle was a lot of fun, living in Europe also gave Paul a chance to sample really good coffee. It was perhaps an obsession, but definitely the start of an early love affair – he was now on a constant outlook for the best coffees.  It’s reported that Paul would adjust his tour route to make sure that they stopped for rest breaks at the best cafes serving the finest espressos!  His new crush was obvious to his co-workers. The day before he left to return to New Zealand, they all pooled some money and gave Paul a tidy little sum.  The only condition was that he’d have to spend it on an espresso maker for himself. True to his word, Paul bought an espresso machine as he departed for New Zealand, and a new chapter of his life started to unfold.  His experiments with the science and art of coffee began – becoming an artist of taste. 

Flash back in the story, to Newberg in 1998, when Paul met Pete.  Pete noticed that Paul was intensely interested in coffee, and he invited him to come by Caravan Coffee.  During that visit, he told Paul, “You have a passion for coffee.” One thing led to another and he’s been at Caravan ever since.   

Nowadays, Paul is chiefly responsible for deciding which raw coffee beans Caravan buys, and for maintaining and improving the quality of Caravan’s coffees.  While he’s well at home in social situations, he loves some of the more quiet times that his current job entails. By creating elaborate testing scenarios, he can reveal, and relish in, the intricate details of coffee; its aromas and tastes, its body and perhaps, even its soul.  

Paul can concern himself with such intricate questions as: if you roast this blend 60 seconds longer at that temperature, will it be better?  He loves to answer these questions; and the answer really makes a difference in the taste of the final product. Says Paul, “Coffee (making) has so many technical tweaks; it’s like a science experiment, and you have to produce the same results, day after day.”  He uses his scientific training and his artistic discernment to consistently create truly enjoyable coffees. 

These days, Paul isn’t driving any double-decker coaches, though he occasionally drives a fork lift.  He maintains a strong tie to his native New Zealand; he’s a staunch fan of All Blacks, the best rugby team in New Zealand, and arguably, the best team in the world.  Watching cricket matches is also important as is playing board games with his wife, Rachel. 

True love never dies.  Paul still has a passion for life, family, and the day to day journey that is creating really good coffee. 

Contributed by Doug Verigin

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