Blas Alfaro

Partner and Senior Vice President at Fulcrum

A fifth-generation coffee farmer from Costa Rica, Blas Alfaro first moved to the Seattle area to manage the roasting program at Silver Cup Coffee. Currently, he is partner and senior vice president at Fulcrum, a nine-year-old Seattle roaster headquartered in SoDo, with over 30 employees.

Blas meticulously ensures that all the products he sells are exceptional. Rather than let the machine do the work, he perfects each roast through dozens of experiments, using the skills he learned from his grandparents who inherited the knowledge from the three generations before them. Blas’s knowledge and experience has helped Fulcrum build close relationships with quality coffee producers around the world.

In addition to perfecting each roast, Blas also travels the world far and wide, in search of the best beans, building long lasting relationships with the coffee farmers. He currently works with about 50 farmers in close to 30 countries, and maintains a personal relationship with all of them. Blas believes that it is his duty as a coffee roaster to help farmers become more resilient, including encouraging them to grow coffee varieties that are right for them and their own climate. He’s fluent in Spanish and can easily communicate with farmers in Latin American countries. He’s also fluent in the “language of coffee,” which includes the varieties of coffee, patterns on farming and ways of taking care of a coffee tree.

Blas planted one of the first hybrid coffee varieties on his family farm in Costa Rica and brought it to Seattle eight years ago. Fulcrum was among the first roasters to bring these new varieties of coffee to the US. The Fulcrum team also invests in the livelihood of the farmers by committing to three year contracts, something unheard of in the industry. Most small companies don’t do long term contracts, instead renewing every six months. To date, his company has invested in 20 hybrid micro lots around the world, including woman-run farms in Kenya and Rwanda. Hybrid coffee makes up close to 40% of Fulcrum blends, with 70% as the eventual goal.

Outside of work, Blas loves to spend quality time with his husband and their 9-year-old twin daughters. Though he’s no longer working on his family’s coffee farm in Costa Rica, he is continuing the family tradition of being in the coffee business.  And while he’s no longer farming, you can find Blas on the weekends tending to his garden and connecting with the land — just like his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents did generations before him.