Several years ago when the coffee community on Instagram was starting to grow and embrace the widespread connectivity of the platform, I came across a budding woodwork enthusiast, who also happened to be a coffee roaster. Perhaps it was my love for woodwork at the time, but his transformation of tired skateboards into works of art caught me attention. We’ve since developed a wonderful friendship, that sees us now sharing childhood memories about loved ones who raised us, and everyday quirkeries like birthday gift ideas for our better halves.
Justin began his lifelong infatuation with skateboarding back at the same time I was being introduced to the likes of Backstreet Boys. Clearly, his infatuation would lead to greater rewards, and an enduring commitment to the greater good. Not long after, he developed a love for coffee, and worked at an assortment of cafes in Massachusetts, while also doing the odd woodworking jobs.
The craftsmanship involved in being a barista and a woodworker went hand in hand, and set the foundation for a desire to constantly nurture acquired skills.
It wasn’t until years later as a coffee roaster, that he was able to link the 3 together, and combine them into one with the idea to create a portafilter handle made from broken skateboards. Seeing these old skateboards brought him great joy over the years of use, it was only fitting to put them to greater use.
Justin made the idea a reality with the creation of his first handle. Sharing his work on Instagram, led to what he best describes as ‘epic positivity & motivation from peers in all three communities’.
He’s since collaborated with Chemex, Diedrich, and Mavam, as well as skateboarding & woodworking companies.
I admire his drive, and dedication to that which he loves.
‘Being able to recycle the thing that has brought me so many smiles, brings me nothing but joy. I feel like I’m giving back to the skateboards which gave me my happiness & perspective’.
Justin, you truly are a beautiful soul.