Crafting with conviction

Crafting with conviction

June 10, 2015
Paul Haworth

When I was a teenager, I wanted to understand how to actually play chess. What I mean is, I wanted to learn how people were able to see into the future 4 or 5 moves with all the different iterations. I didn’t ever quite get the hang of the prognostication, but I learned some valuable things nonetheless. One simple lesson from these days stuck with me, informing a lot of my life decisions including, of course, how I roast coffee.

I went to high school in suburban Tucson, where the only two places to hang out at night were Denny’s or the now defunct, 24 hour ‘Coffee Etc.’ Coffee Etc. was where I met a long-haired chess junkie named Joe who probably worked graveyard shifts at some microchip plant—though I never asked. 

Joe was amazing. He was like a chess god to my friends and I. We never could beat him but he seemed to enjoy mentoring us regardless. I don’t actually remember any of the opening moves or endgame strategies he schooled me in, but I vividly recall something he explained to me in our very first game.


Before playing Joe, I figured as long as I wasn’t moving my pieces into more vulnerable locations I was netting something positive by moving forward. His checkmate in 10 moves taught me differently. After the embarrassing defeat, he mechanically reassembled the board and had me explain all of my unfortunate moves. I realized I didn’t actually know why I made many of my decisions. I was playing with ‘intuition’ and he was playing with a plan.

His advice was to never make a move until I knew why I was making it. He also told me to take as much time as I needed deliberating and that it was better to make a wrong move for a wrong reason then to make a ‘good’ move but not understand why.


In the past couple decades, I have evolved in my theory and my practice, but I have strived to always roast the way I do for distinct reasons. 

When you enjoy coffee from Cartel, rest assured that it has been sourced, roasted, and handled with this philosophy of intention in view. We know there are people out there who long for the product we carry and we are excited when they find us. We strive for excellence grounded in conviction, and love explaining why we have come to the conclusions we have.