Creating Community: Andrew Giambarba

images by Dave Imber + Dan Karram | story by Michelle Hopper

The South Florida coffee and culinary communities have their own superhero, Andrew Giambarba aka @AndyMiami. Andy is an insurance broker by day and a coffee and food influencer by, well, every other hour of the day. Committed to seeing our coffee community flourish, Andy is using his voice to highlight all that our industry has to offer. On top of being an avid home-brewer and sharing his experiences via instagram @nowbrewing.coffee, Andy hosts meet-ups for the specialty coffee community. We met up with Andy at All Day, Eater's 2016 Coffee Shop of the Year , a coffee shop created by celebrated barista Camila Ramos. As we shared pour overs, Andy told us about his first experiences with coffee, his passion for seeing shops succeed, and what he thinks we can expect from the future of specialty coffee in South Florida.

On your coffee story...

Well, I grew up in an Italian-American family, so espresso was always a part of the mix. I think I’ve finished every meal since I was very young with an espresso, but my first single origin coffee was sitting at Panther Coffee in Wynwood one day. Instead of getting an espresso, I got a Yirgacheffe (Ethiopia) that they had. It was one of those moments where you’re drinking this thing that is blowing your mind, and as it cools it’s opening up and you’re tasting all this new stuff. You know, it’s just, I was hooked. It was really a transcendent moment. From there I started ordering tons of coffee and brewing it at home.

on how @andyMiami came about...

I actually had a food blog for years called Andy’s Diner and I had "AndyMiami" as an email account for years as well. I’ve got a sister who’s older than I am who is brilliant. She had like 7 different blogs and she’s a journalist. My father also has all these different blogs. So the whole idea (behind my blog) was; she was in Seattle, he was in Massachusetts, and I’m in Miami, and I’m like "if you lived near me, this is what you’d be eating." So it was total home cooking. Andy Miami the instagram account was more food and some specialty coffee.


on why Instagram...

There are two really important pieces to it; one is, and it sounds cheesy, but it’s like karma. I’m enjoying all of this (motions to the coffee and atmosphere at All Day) and I’m an end user. I get to come here, I get to have these incredible experiences and have this incredible coffee. If I don’t support it with more than just spending money here, if I don’t let people know it’s here and talk about the people behind it, in three years I’m going to be lamenting. I’m going to be sitting here saying  “Crap, remember when All Day was open?” So there is a responsibility behind it.
The other fun thing is that there’s not a lot great about getting old, but one of the positive sides is that you have an influence, or you’re able to leverage your opinion in a way that maybe you wouldn’t have the credibility if you were younger. So the fact that I can go to a lot of these places is that I can meet the people behind them and talk about them. It’s a really cool social experience. I love community. When you help to create community, you really feel like “I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing”. People gravitate toward community, and I think there’s a coffee community, a food community and a community of supporters that’s really, really powerful

What I love about Instagram is, it’s an image, it’s a caption and you’re done. I’m not pontificating, I’m not trying to evangelize people to something religious or political; I'm not interested in that. I’m interested in: here’s an image, here’s a the face of someone who’s doing a great job, go here. We’re done.


"When you help to create community, you really feel like 'I’m
doing what I’m supposed to be doing'."


on your daily coffee routine...

It’s actually pretty predictable. I do a pour over every morning, a Kalita or V60. I don’t do espresso at home because I know I’m not going to be able to pull a shot of espresso that is of the caliber that I can find at a place like this (All Day).

on what excites you most about coffee...

That’s a great question. This last year I went to coffee farm in Jamaica. I always knew, intellectually, how many people were involved in really working their ass off from planting to harvesting, to producing, processing, shipping and roasting. There’s just so many people along the way. But when I went to a farm and I met the guy who was growing the coffee and heard the story behind this incredible price that his family paid to be able to do what he does - that’s what excites me. It teaches people geography, and it teaches people about supply chains. It’s like an incredible meal; there’s so much artistry that goes into it, but at the end of the day the most important thing is that we’re drinking it, and we go “Damn that’s delicious!" It’s as complex as you want it to be, or you can just simply enjoy it and think “That’s the perfect way to end a meal.” I’m excited from a consumer perspective about what’s happening in South Florida, it’s not slowing down.

on the future of specialty coffee in south florida...

Well, I think more and more people are going to experience it. That’s why we do the meet-ups; there’s no affiliation with any one roaster. We really just want to give people the chance to celebrate what’s going on. I think there’s going to be an influx of a ton of people coming in, a lot of roasters, big and small. I think it’s going to get crowded for a couple years and then it’s going to level out, and the great ones will survive. I look at Panther, I think about Joel and Leticia and how they’ve trained so many people who have then gone and started their own. It takes a really special person to be able to do that. Then I see new roasters like Chris and Paul at Per'La who are this perfect combination of right brain left brain; one guy who is really dialed in to the business, one guy who is really dialed into the coffee. They are young, very aggressive and thinking outside the box. I think they’re going to have a great future. And then the big three (Counter Culture, Stumptown, and Blue Bottle) are here or will be here. It’s going to go from 0 to 100 mph really quick.


"It’s like an incredible meal, there’s so much artistry that goes into it, but at the end of the day, the most important thing is that we’re drinking it, and we go 'damn that’s delicious'!"


on your last meal in miami...

I’m starting at Alter, I’m going to Cake Thai, then I’m going to Edge and Aaron Brooks is making me something with lamb and charcuterie. Then I’m finishing at Ghee. How crazy is it that there are four places I’d have my last meal? Followed by coffee, all over the place.

favorite Coffee Roaster outside of Florida...

George Howell. I’ve never had a coffee from him I didn’t enjoy.