109: Wille Yli-Luoma/Heart to Heart

Wille Yli-Luoa, Portland, November 2019. Photo: Tozer

“Snowboarding changed the way I looked at how to learn something – how to become a professional at something”

Yep, for this episode I headed to Heart Roasters to speak to the great Wille Yli-Luoma. Back in the late 90s and early 00s, Wille was one of the most progressive snowboarders in the world. And, as a member of the celebrated Forum 8, he was a member of the heaviest and most progressive teams in snowboarding history. Go and watch The Resistance to get some measure of how they defined freestyle snowboarding for a generation.

Photo: Tozer

Wille was a key part of the team and for a decade bestrode the snowboarding world like the backcountry freestyle colossus he was. As his career wound down, he turned his attention to a new venture, and set about establishing Heart Roasters – despite having zero experience in the coffee industry.

Today, Heart is a Portland institution, and Wille’s rapidly expanding wholesale business means it is about to go global.

Photo: Tozer

SO many layers to this conversation. Sure, it’s about coffee – geekily so. But it’s also about the choices an athlete has to make a critical point in their career, and how the same tools that worked in one area of life can also serve you just as well in other areas.

As inspiring off the hill as he was on it at the height of his career, this is a brilliant, all encompassing conversation with a true snowboarding legend. The coffee wasn’t bad either.

Listen to the episode here:

HUGE thanks to Travel Portland, Hertz and Black Diamond for their help in pulling this entire Portland trip together.

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Show Notes

  • At the heart of the coffee roasters.
  • Probat UG-15.
  • Test roasts.
  • Listening to the gut.
  • Older machines.
  • Three types of heat.
  • The actual coffee making process.
  • “Better raw materials make a better end product”.
  • The coffee ‘time game’.
  • The roasters’ market.
  • Sustainable relationships with farmers.
  • Rockstar farmers.
  • “What am I going to do after snowboarding?”.
  • The Sponsors’ retirement plan.
  • “It was no masterplan”.
  • Scientific with coffee.
  • ExtractMojo.
  • “We’re not afraid to buy the best possible coffee and just mess around with it”.
  • Risk vs reward.
  • Hiding the snowboard background.
  • 6,000 square foot facility.
  • How roasting machines work.
  • Drum and air roasters.
  • 3,000 kg a week.
  • US rules.
  • Tasting and sampling.
  • Process of improving products.
  • Wille’s ‘Roast Curve’.
  • Reading patterns.
  • Leeches in the industry.
  • Sharing the knowledge.
  • “When you get older it starts hurting more”.
  • Burnt out from snowboarding.
  • Weird injuries.
  • “Can you see a cringe in a podcast?”.
  • Snowboarding on your own.
  • “I was a kid having a kid”.
  • European Portland.
  • Outside influences.
  • Blocking out the noise.
  • Avoiding the competition circle.
  • “I did what I wanted to do”.
  • Today’s hard tricks.
  • Backcountry vs park jumps.
  • Spending time with family.
  • “I sometimes have dreams of snowboarding”.

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