For our first Influencer Tasting at Bow Truss we invited Max Wastler to choose his favorite roast. Wastler is the man behind All Plaidout, the co-host of TV pilot Made Right Here and the co-owner of online store Buckshot Sonny’s; He sat down with Bow Truss manager Talya Strader to learn the unique characteristics and experience the flavor of each roast before settling on a Natural Yirgacheffe Gelana Abaya with a complex base of honey and chocolate, overlaid with delicate clear berry acidity.
We caught up with Wastler after his tasting at Bow Truss to chat about his current projects, love of local businesses and early memories of coffee.
For those who don’t know, tell us a little bit about what you do.
It's funny. When asked, "What do you do?" I often find myself pausing in my response. We are so often defined by what we do. I co-own an online store, I co-hosted a TV pilot. And occasionally, I'm a writer.
What initially sparked your interest in American-made goods?
My interest was sparked by a work experience in clothing production and by a volunteer gig at a farmer's market in New York. While there, I became interested in supporting local businesses. At the time, my job was in clothing, so naturally, I wanted to learn more about clothing makers in the United States.
How did this interest lead to Made Right Here?
One of my best friends and now a business partner, Joe Gannon and I drove from Nashville to Gatlinburg to learn how Billy Moore makes belts and belt buckles for his line Cause & Effect. While nodding off after an evening of belt-making, one of us said, "This could be a TV show." And the work to make the pilot took off from there. We are still shopping this to any and all comers, and hoping to garner the interest of a network.
What draws you to telling stories through a visual platform like Made Right Here, All Plaidout or Instagram?
I'm a visually stimulated person. When I see something I like, for whatever reason, I'm compelled to share it. If I could film all the nice things I see being made, I would share them on Made Right Here. If I have time to share the things I find on All Plaidout, I do that. And if nothing else, Instagram is right there in my pocket.
What initially attracted you to working with Bow Truss?
I really love coffee. From the first cup morning ritual to the espresso shot at the end of a long, convivial Italian dinner, it's so much a part of the moments in life I cherish most. I think what the roasting folks at Bow Truss are doing is some of the best in the city, and I was thrilled to be the guinea pig in this project.
Tell us your first memory of coffee.
Oh, I can still smell the combination of burnt toast and burnt decaf and that fat, orange jar sitting on the kitchen counter. So many mornings, my mother would dip a slice of buttered toast in her cup of Sanka instant coffee as she read the newspaper.
I also remember the first time I tried coffee and liked it. I was standing outside a Barnes & Noble at Universal Studios CityWalk in Hollywood, California. My Uncle Bobby emerged from the bookstore with a Frappuccino. One saccharine sweet sip, and I was sold.
What was the process of choosing the coffee at the tasting like?
Manager Talya Strader did a great job of explaining the characteristics of each roast. I feel guilty because the one I chose is the sweetest, most unique, and therefore most obvious one, but truly, I like my coffee just like my Uncle Bob does. I have an incredibly oversized sweet tooth, several in fact, and the Yirgacheffe was as good as dessert.
In addition to working with Bow Truss you also frequent Heritage General Store and use it as a venue to sell items from Buckshot Sonny’s. How does the coffee community influence or inspire your daily life and work?
Heritage has done a great job of creating a space where people can gather and share in one another's interests. Michael and Melissa [the owners] have taken a page from Ray Oldenburg's seminal book, The Great, Good Place.
"The leveling, primacy of conversation, certainty of meeting friends, looseness of structure, and eternal reign of the imp of fun all combine to set the stage for experiences unlikely to be found elsewhere… The benefits of participation both delight and sustain the individual."