Roaster Evan Howe of Small Planes Coffee - Biography

Washington, D.C.

October 2018

Evan Howe calls himself a refugee of academia. He spent a lot of time in graduate school learning about philosophy, library sciences, and rare books. When Howe was an intern at Washington D.C.’s Folger Shakespeare Library, he started to frequent Peregrine Espresso, owned by Ryan and Jill Jensen. He loved nerding-out with baristas about coffee varietals and brewing techniques, and eventually was offered a part-time gig at Peregrine’s coffee bar in Union Market. And thus the slippery slope began: He started taking more hours at Peregrine and less hours as an archivist—until he finally devoted himself full time to coffee. He worked as a barista and quality manager at the Union Market and Capitol Hill locations of Peregrine.

When the Jensens asked Howe to become the head roaster and green buyer at their new roasting company Small Planes, he went to the School of Coffee in Vermont to learn more about roasting, and traveled to Guatemala and Colombia to meet export partners and select offerings for Small Planes, which opened in spring 2017. Howe works relentlessly with colleagues to source coffees of the highest quality and roasts them to highlight each distinct variety and its terroir. Small Planes actively pursues a transparent, relationship-driven sourcing model for its buying program, Howe hopes to play a small but meaningful part in the movement towards a supply chain that is fundamentally about people—with coffee as an incredibly singular (and delicious!) point of connection.