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20 Questions - Posted December 28, 2012 11:29 a.m.
photos by Jeff Harbin, Life of Riley Photography

James Godwin

Barista, roaster, coffee connoisseur

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James Godwin’s first sip of coffee came at the age of 12. Back then, he drank it with cream and sugar, but those were the early days. “Black coffee,” says the 30-year-old Roasters Coffee & Tea barista. “That’s my love and my passion.”

Coffee is James’ water, and he estimates he consumes a gallon and half of coffee a day. It’s not about the stimulant any more, but comes down to the ritual. Before taking on the positions of barista and roaster at Roasters, James worked at Starbucks and as a coffee consultant, a job that called for the “revamping” of coffee shops.

“I love the whole coffee culture,” says the Amarillo native and Texas State University alumnus. “It’s a real tight knit culture and very supportive. You get to meet people and talk to people and when people come they actually want that relationship with a barista. It’s more than a cup of coffee.”

Four years ago, James began home roasting coffee. Transforming beans into soothing drinks is an art, he says, and being a barista is a noble position that requires knowledge and skill developed over time.

“I like the whole romance of roasting over a fire and taking that unfinished product that smelled like grain and turning into something smells delicious,” says the husband and father.

James sees great things for the future of the coffee culture in Amarillo. Over the past several years, he has witnessed a flourishing appreciation of not only the taste of coffee, but also the story behind where the beans were farmed. Coffee drinkers are becoming more of contributors rather than just consumers.

“I think Amarillo is on the verge of the coffee culture exploding,” James declares excitedly. “People are becoming interested and more concerned about the quality.”

A certified teacher, James also is an avid musician, playing piano, banjo and guitar, putting his talents on display in the Praise Worship Band at Paramount Baptist Church. He and his wife of eight years, Courtney, have a 5-year-old son, Elisha, who James hopes to share his passion for coffee with someday.


My friends and family call me… the Hobbit.

In an alternate life, I would’ve been a… cave dweller or a log-cabin builder.

My go-to stress reliever is… whittling and going out with my beautiful wife.

One of my favorite childhood toys was… my compound bow.

You may be surprised to know that I… brew my own beer.

My Facebook friend count is… low and in control.

My celebrity crush is… Betty White.

If I had a time machine I would travel to… 1620 and work for the Dutch West India Trading Company.

Right now, I’m listening to… “Right Away, Great Captain!”, Mumford & Sons, “Babel” and John Mark McMillan.

My favorite meal to make from scratch is… everything, but especially tamales and bisques.

The most famous or interesting person I’ve ever met is… John Popper.

If I had an open plane ticket to anywhere, I would go to… Japan.

My favorite most-quotable movie is… “Snatch.”

If I were a character in a book, I would be… Dorian Gray from “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde.

The greatest piece of advice I’ve ever received is… “Whatever you do in life, be excellent.”

I know every word to the song… “Regulators” by Warren G.

My favorite bad-for-me-food is… cheeseburgers.

I’m secretly addicted to the TV series… “Murder, She Wrote.”

by Drew Belle Zerby

After graduating from LSU in 2009, Drew Belle worked as a page designer in north Louisiana until moving to Amarillo and joining AGN Media in late 2010. In her spare time, she loves to read, travel and spout out useless movie trivia.
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