Wake Up and Smell the Coffee with Blind Master Roaster Gerry Leary

Close your eyes. Makes it kind of hard to read your screen, huh? You can imple­ment a text-to-speech workaround, but after that, your sens­es are pret­ty much exhaust­ed as far as this forum is con­cerned.

Mas­ter cof­fee roast­er Ger­ry Leary, of Boul­der, Col­orado, would not be daunt­ed by such an exer­cise. You’ve like­ly heard oth­er DIY suc­cess sto­ries cit­ing a will­ful­ly blind eye with regard to all the things that could have gone wrong ear­ly on. Leary, who’s been blind since birth, may have blun­dered onto his life’s call­ing in a San Fran­cis­co cafe where he mis­took a roast­ing machine for a rock tum­bler, but after that, his route seems care­ful­ly plot­ted. He enrolled in a pro­fes­sion­al train­ing pro­gram. Before tak­ing over the lease to what is now the Unseen Bean Cafe, he tuned his ears to the pre­cise num­ber of feet con­sti­tut­ing near­by foot traf­fic. He is one of the very few with­in his field to roast by sound and scent rather sight, not­ing that the fla­vors of any bean is sub­ject to fla­vor vari­ance with every new crop.

He’ll have to take some­one else’s word for it that he’s best­ing the com­pe­ti­tion in the area of logo design. The Unseen Bean’s blind­fold­ed, cup-sniff­ing guide dog strikes this view­er as apt on every lev­el.

- Ayun Hal­l­i­day depends on her dai­ly buck­et of black snakes to get her through.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.