Jen St.Hilaire, Owner & Roastmaster
Jen St.Hilaire grew up in Bellingham, Washington - City of Subdued Excitement. She was nurtured through her formative years on a well-rounded diet of Commodore 64, Atari 2600, Centipede, "voodoo economics", Barter's Drive-In, ABBA, Xanadu, and Shaun Cassidy. It was during this time that she also acquired a love of science fiction via Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Close Encounters, Bladerunner, Alien(s), and an obsession for video games which would catapult her into pursuing her original career choice of computer programming and video game design. Lack of opportunities for women in those careers at the time led her to tune-in, drop out & pursue other passions such as music, foreign languages, and other experiences that would forever change her life and give her the fortitude necessary to run her own business one day, like working in Alaska's fishing and crabbing industry.
After dropping out of college a second time, disillusioned with the rigid curriculum necessary to get a piece of paper which would likely lead to nothing but massive student loan debt, Jen signed on at Seattle's Espresso Vivace in 1995, upon realizing she'd been mistaken regarding the fundamentally bitter nature of coffee. She pursued roasting perfection there as head roaster and wholesale manager until she retired in 1999, relocating to the Bay Area to expand her opportunities as a rock musician. Shortly after, Jen consulted with longtime Vivace customer, Andrew Barnett, to help start his company, Ecco Caffe in Santa Rosa (now Linea Caffe in SF). Jen shared her roasting expertise with Ecco until 2005, when the band broke up, and she began to turn her attention to her own entrepreneurial aspirations. She opened Scarlet City Roasting in West Oakland in 2009 and together with Susanna Handow, opened and ran Scarlet City Espresso Bar in Emeryville from 2014-2019. Today, Scarlet City Coffee Roasting is the manifestation of over two decades' of experience in the specialty coffee industry, and a passion for both a complex, sweet cup of coffee.