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Coffee People
Coffee People: Brandon Seabrook Nelson, Bridge City Coffee

Coffee People: Brandon Seabrook Nelson, Bridge City Coffee

"I get to be part of the narrative, a better narrative..."


Guest: Brandon Seabrook Nelson, Bridge City Coffee
Role: Head Coffee Roaster, Artist
Based: Greenville, SC
Online: • @bridgecitycoffee • @seabrookartist84
What they order: Coffee with a side of scotch (when in Ireland, someday)

Brandon Seabrook Nelson is not one thing. Our paths, despite our certainty at the moment, are often not as straight and narrow as we assume. Brandon’s journey took him towards youth ministry, coffee, art, and beer and back again into the coffee lane he’s found himself succeeding in now. He isn’t just one thing. He is all things. Everyone has an evolving story. Brandon’s current iteration sees him as a black artist and coffee roaster with autism.

A collage of painted and drawn art portraits of comic book characters and black activists. In the lower right is a portrait of the artist.
A collection of Brandon’s art & the artist ©@seabrookartist84

The name “Bridge City” represents our relentless pursuit of healing and spanning divides between people and communities by building bridges; thus creating a better city for all of us to be a part of.


We didn’t delve too deep into the Bridge City Coffee ethos (outside of being and doing good), but their efforts extend to three core pillars: relational sourcing, empowered employment, and community impact. They started with their name and worked—continue to work—to apply their ethos to the entire chain of coffee that they are connected to. I often hear from roasters whose work begins with better sourcing. It is a noble pursuit to uplift the farmers producing coffee. My conversation with Brandon was the first that referred to considering the history and cultural impact of coffee becoming a worldwide commodity.

“I get to be part of the narrative, a better narrative, of being a coffee roaster and being respectful of the history of coffee and where it came from—where it originally came from.
And with Bridge City it is literally is bridging gaps. It is creating a better narrative along with those who are doing the work.”
• Brandon Seabrook Nelson


  • Seabrook is a family name.

  • Bridge City Coffee was named Roast Magazine’s 2024 Micro Roaster of the Year. Becoming Roaster of the Year is a process, and when a company wins they need to be ready for the attention! Roast Magazine judges candidates on:

    • Company mission

    • Commitment to sustainable practices

    • Commitment to employees and educational practices

    • Commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity

    • Commitment to and involvement in the coffee industry

    • Innovations in roasting, marketing and business practices, and

    • Quality of coffee

      A banner proclaiming Bridge City Coffee the 2024 Roaster of the Year and a photograph of all the employees posing for the photo in front of a white concrete building. An estimated 35 people are smiling at the camera.
      ©@bridgecitycoffee on Instagram.
  • Starbucks played a big role in Brandon’s coffee journey. It is where a lot of his early coffee education took place.

  • I was reminded of the value of a coffee shop to a community. At one point, Brandon was hopeful a coffee shop would open in his neighborhood. The coffee shop is a community hub, a job creator, and a place to drink delicious coffee.

  • So much of life is timing. So much of coffee roasting is timing, too.

  • At the end of the day, it’s just cooking beans. It doesn’t need to be overwhelming. If you’re learning to roast, keep it simple.

  • Bridge City refers to the greater theme of Bridging the Gap.

  • If you are trying Bridge City Coffee for the first time and looking to lean towards a darker roast Brandon recommends you try the Nicaragua Plumeria, a washed dark roast a.k.a. Little Nicky. I’m drinking Kenya light roast (limited release). It’s excellent.


  • Finally, move over Star Wars. May 4th is the new unofficial Ninja Turtle holiday



Jackie Robinson (Brooklyn Dodgers) and Ernie Davis (Syracuse University & Cleveland Browns) are two athletes, iconic athletes, that Brandon looks to when he needs an example of leading by doing the work. I’ll barely scratch the surface of their impact in the following paragraphs, and I encourage you to learn more about them both.

Jackie Robinson is widely known for breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947.* Previously, he had been a multisport athlete at UCLA, where he also participated in basketball, football, and track & field. Many accounts claim he was better at those sports than on the baseball field.

Robinson began his professional baseball career with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues. He was scouted by Dodgers club president Branch Rickey and signed in secret. Part of his signing included discussions about his ability and willingness to be able to withstand the anticipated racial abuse he’d receive from fans, in the media, and even from other players around the league. Some of them threatened to walk out of games or quit rather than play with or against an African American.

The reaction notwithstanding, Robinson excelled on the field. He won the MLB Rookie of the Year award in 1947 and the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 1949 and was instrumental in the Dodger’s 1955 World Series Championship. He won a slew of other awards and his number was retired—not just by the Dodgers but eventually by the entire league—for his contribution to baseball and role in ending segregation in the league.

Jackie Robinson also had a particular impact in Greenville, SC, where Bridge City Coffee is from. From Wikipedia:

In October 1959, Robinson entered the Greenville Municipal Airport's whites-only waiting room. Airport police asked Robinson to leave, but he refused. At a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) speech in Greenville, South Carolina, Robinson urged "complete freedom" and encouraged black citizens to vote and to protest their second-class citizenship. The following January, approximately 1,000 people marched on New Year's Day to the airport, which was desegregated shortly thereafter.

Ernie Davis was the first black athlete to win the Heisman Trophy, which was given to college football's best player each season. He played halfback for the Syracuse Orangemen from 1959-1961 before being drafted into the NFL. Originally drafted by the team now known as the Washington Commanders, he was immediately traded to the Cleveland Browns. Washington's openly racist owner publicly admitted he only drafted Davis to appease the city government's demand to integrate the team or lose the lease on the city-owned stadium. Prior to playing even a single NFL game, Davis was diagnosed with leukemia. He died less than a year later at 23 years of age. His life story was the inspiration for the film The Express, which we mentioned in the pod.

*With respect to William Edward White and Moses Fleetwood Walker who played in the late 1800s. Learn more about Walker in this LA Times profile of his time in baseball and the response from league managers that effectively barred black athletes until Jackie Robinson.


  • Brandon referenced several other coffee influences in his life, including:

  • Roast! Magazine interview with Bridge City Coffee (December 2023):

  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor (Lutheran) and noted anti-Nazi at a time when that was…frowned upon in Germany. He was arrested in 1943 and sent to prison before being transferred to a concentration camp. He was later accused of being part of a plot to assassinate Hitler and hanged near the end of World War II.


We didn’t want to stay awake (or wake up early) for the first MLB season games in Seoul, Korea, because…sleeping. Luckily, our friends at Warning Track Power recapped the Dodgers Vs. Padres oddly scheduled opening day.

Warning Track Power
Wake Up, It's Baseball
Ten years ago this week, my wife and I hosted an unusual gathering at our Paradise Valley townhouse. A few friends and colleagues came over for what felt like a cross between a bad slumber party and an even worse cocktail party. In our defense, we had never held a gathering before for an Opening Day 17 time zones away…
Read more


A huge, on-going thank you to all of this show’s industry partners.

Mark your calendars. I’ll be traveling the country in early April headed to the Specialty Coffee Expo in Chicago with coffee samples from Coffee Cycle Roasting, Marea Coffee, Cape Horn Green Coffee Importers, and Crossings Coffee! Roastar is producing the sample bags, the roasters are roasting, and I’ll be behind the wheel. See you soon, Chicago.

If you want to attend SCA (4/12-14) but don’t want to buy a ticket, they are looking for volunteers to work at the event in exchange for multiday passes.

Click these links!

Roastar • Zumbar Coffee & Tea • First Light Coffee Whiskey • Steady State Roasting • Mostra Coffee • Coffee Cycle •  Camp Coffee CompanyIgnite Coffee Company • Ascend Coffee Roasters • Marea Coffee • Cape Horn Green Coffee • Hacea Coffee Source • Crossings Coffee • Acento Coffee RoastersSivitz Roasting Machines • Craft 42 Roasters • Me and My Uncle Coffee Roasters

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