Caffeinated Collector Boontar Jones Collects All 100 Limited Release Boxes

On December 1, 2018 we released the first four boxes in our newly created Limited Release Box series, and Boontar Jones was literally first in line, snagging the first of each of those boxes.  He snapped a flick of all four of them in his hands, and posted them to his Instagram account, declaring that he was going to collect all 100 boxes!  We were all amped up, and I think we kinda, sorta believed him, but also wondered, is that really possible?   

As we release Limited Release Box #100 Blue Mountain, here is the story of how Boontar Jones successfully collected (and saved) all 100 Limited Release Boxes! 

How It All Started

Boontar with the first 4 Limited Release Boxes

It was a Saturday, and we were doing a special tasting of the first four coffees.  Boontar was among a small group of super fans who made the early trip to the shop that day to celebrate this new venture on which we were striking out.  We had determined that we were going to source 100 exceptional coffees - each scoring a minimum of 87 points on the Specialty Coffee Association sensory analysis scoring system - with some being what we consider Grand Cru, scoring 90 points or above.

These coffees would be served exclusively at our Analog Bar, packaged in a lovely box with a foil label and then be numbered like limited edition art prints.  We would do no more than 100 of each box, and, because of coffee sourcing limitations, many would be less than that, some as few as 55. 

We had no idea how long this would take us or how our customer base would respond, but we wanted to do something special that we could commit ourselves to and also create a special line of coffees. 

Box #1 was a Grand Cru from Costa Rica we called La Perla, a lovely honey processed SL-28 that was a tru stunner.  Box #2 offered no let down as it was a rare, clean natural from Yemen that was bursting with fruit and complexity.  A washed Guatemalan coffee from Fransisco Morales in Huehuetenango and Box #4 a bright Kenyan.  The quest had begun and we were off and running! 

Adult Pokémon

That tasting ended, December passed quickly, and as we got into 2019, Boontar steadily showed up - as did a handful of others - to make sure he snagged one of each box as we released them.  It took some effort, as our releases did not always line up with his coffee consumption needs, or his work schedule, but he stuck with it. 

Keep in mind, this man was not just purchasing and drinking the coffees, HE WAS SAVING THE BOXES!  “It’s kind of like adult Pokemon,” he told me when he and his wife came in for a photoshoot a few weeks ago with all of his boxes.  “I mean,” he continued, “Once I got going, my OCD kicked in and then I had to keep collecting them,” his wife Skipsy literally rolling her eyes.  Her take? “He’s crazy, he saving empty boxes!  Where are you supposed to put those?”

I won’t lie, I get where she’s coming from, but I can’t help but feel honored by what this man set out to do and then achieved.  For five years, he saved and preserved the boxes, something we were not even doing ourselves. 

The Grind

Boontar is a trucker who often drives overnight and sleeps during the day.  He carries a pour-over set up in his rig that he designed and had a custom carrying case built to hold.  His coffee game is strong and he does not let sleeping at truck stops rob him of the tiny joy of a great cup of coffee.  As he moves from city to city, he often finds local roasters he can connect with and is constantly sharing the coffees he finds with his buddies. 

In some ways, Boontar is the best kind of coffee friend.  He is very generous with his personal stash, has orchestrated a Holiday Season secret Santa style coffee exchange that scores of people have participated in, splits subscriptions with friends (and acquaintances), and is always sharing what he is learning. 

When COVID hit we all ran into a bit of a snag, but Boontar found a way through his friendship with our long-time employee Jacoby Steele.  Jacoby would tip him off to when releases were happening - yes, this was a real thing - and Boontar would make sure to have him hold back a box for him to swing by and pick up when he was able to make it happen.  On a few occasions, the streak was threatened, but Jacoby came through every time, sometimes even cobbling together a box or two to from our own roasting team coffee stash. 

Boontar and Shannon
Boontar on the Road

A Carabello Coffee Legend

In the end, the collection was five years in the making, but he did it.  We did the math, and it was over 2500 cups of coffee brewed and consumed as he went.  I’m not sure how much he had to spend, but based on our average pricing, he had to spend somewhere north of $1700 to make this possible. 

Once Boontar got to box #94 we decided to gift him the remaining #95 - #100.  We also asked him if he would bring in the boxes so we could do a photoshoot with him and all of them.  We found this sweet white chair that looks like it belongs in a throne room, and taped all of the boxes to the wall in order, giving him #100 to hold.  It was such a blast, telling stories, remembering certain coffees that stand out - #29 seems to have been one many people remember - and celebrating this special (crazy?) Achievement.

Boontar and Shannon

To be able to snap some photos and share memories with our Lead Roaster Shannon Savage, who along with Jacoby Steele and Rachel Diaz, helped source and roast all 100 of the coffees, was pretty cool. 

A long time ago Boontar, like many folks who have walked through our cafe doors, moved from customer to friend.  What started out as him getting into coffee and then finding our shop in 2015 turned into him forming lasting bonds that go well beyond coffee with many of our staff.  Some of our past staff have called him a Carabello Legend.  Some have yet to meet him, only hearing stories of the mythical "Boontar."  But, if we someday were to create a Pantheon of Carabello Coffee customers, this accomplishment would most certainly earn Boontar Jones a seat in that hallowed circle. 

The King