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Coffee People: Kayleigh Bortolussi, Slow Hurry Coffee

Coffee People: Kayleigh Bortolussi, Slow Hurry Coffee

One shot (of espresso), one drip, and one latte.


Guest: Kayleigh Bortolussi, Slow Hurry Coffee
From: Northern border of Western Ohio & Eastern Pennsylvania
Instagram: @slowhurrycoffee
What they drink: “Like three drinks…”–a single shot of espresso, a drip, and a latte.

The life of a cup of coffee is reflected in the name Slow Hurry. The life of the coffee bean begins at the farm. The process is slow, so slow, at the beginning. It takes months, even years,* for a coffee plant to be grown from the ground and begin fruiting coffee cherries that are worthy of the coffee we’ve become accustomed to.

After picking, the fruit is still processed over days, even weeks. It has to be shipped, across continents, across oceans until it reaches a green coffee importer. Those beans will find a home with a coffee roaster, who eventually drops them into their machine.

Things begin to speed up. The coffee is roasted, packaged, potentially shipped again, and put in the queue. Finally, someone will order a coffee or a latte or a cappuccino, and WHAM! Those beans are whipped out at the coffee bar. Their life has entered the speed zone.

It’s a slow hurry. The least we can do as coffee drinkers are to take a moment, even a brief one, to appreciate the efforts of the farmers, importers, roasters, and finally, baristas and coffee entrepreneurs like Kayleigh as that liquid passes beyond the barrier of our lips and becomes part of us.

*It can take three years for a coffee plant to produce fruit that can be harvested.



  • Her fav show as a kid was Ninja Turtles…NINJA TURTLES! 

  • Kayleigh has spent more than a decade working in coffee. She started at Starbucks,* which we have to thank for being the gateway to craft coffee for so many third-wave coffee professionals.

  • The Starbucks Coffee Master program, which Kayleigh went through, is a big deal in the Starbucks world. Graduates were given black aprons instead of green to indicate their status as a Coffee Master and their desire to continue learning about coffee. For a few years, the program was disbanded, but coinciding with the return of Howard Shulz to the leadership team and the feedback from Starbucks employees, the black apron has returned.

    The Starbucks educational programs never went away. In fact, they’ve been growing. The Coffee Master black aprons are now bestowed on employees who complete all the courses at the Starbucks Global Academy (online). Non-employees can also register to take the classes.

  • It can be a challenge to find a middle ground between super slow, precise brewing techniques that result in the best-tasting coffee and providing customers with the convenience and speed to which they’ve grown accustomed. Slow Hurry is an effort to find that space.

  • Parenting while being an entrepreneur is a different challenge. I grew up in a family business. I joke that I wasn’t a kid, just a future employee, but that is just a joke. I don’t know how my parents managed to run a business and raise three rowdy kids!

    In reality, growing up in a family business was a great gift. I saw the results of my parent's efforts daily. I learned how to communicate with a world of different people. My brothers and I have all grown up to pursue entrepreneurial avenues using the foundational skills we learned as kids. Most importantly, early on, it kept us all close together. When we were young, we were always underfoot, and as we got older, we were part of the team. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  • Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. If you’re doing something cool, other people, brands, and businesses often want to be associated with you.

  • Kayleigh uses Third Wave Water dissolved in water to minimize a major variable when serving coffee at a pop-up event. Third Wave sells mineral packets curated to create the right mix of minerals that will turn distilled water into the ideal water for coffee.

    I have been using Third Wave Water for the first time this week. It’s anecdotal, because I’ve also been using some new-to-me coffee brewers, but I have been really impressed with the coffee I’ve been making.

  • What does the future hold? It’s a loaded question for us all. For Kayleigh and Slow Hurry Coffee, continued growth in 2023, and on the horizon, a full service coffee van. 

*This is kind of surprising considering the hardcore local sentiment in the neighborhood and the proliferation of local coffee shops and roasters has reached near saturation levels. One two block square stretch has more than seven places where you can get a good cup of coffee. Three of the seven are coffee roasters!


Drink their coffees and whiskeys. Visit their cafes. Support local coffee shops. You won’t be disappointed.

  • Coffee Cycle Roasting was recently sampled and featured in the Wacaco* newsletter. Check it out and find out what is CCR’s most recent coffee release in their monthly newsletter.


    *Portable espresso machine makers.

Zumbar Coffee & Tea • First Light Coffee Whiskey • Steady State Roasting • CAFÉ LaTERRE • Mostra Coffee • Coffee Cycle •  Camp Coffee CompanyIgnite Coffee Company • Ascend Coffee Roasters • Marea Coffee • Cape Horn Coffee Roasters

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The Original Show! The Roast! West Coast podcast introduces you to the premier coffee roasters, coffee experts and coffee innovators on the West Coast. Author, entrepreneur, and host Ryan Woldt interviews guests to bring you their origin stories, thoughts on the community of coffee, and coffee education.