Award Winning Barista Champ Leads Dr Smood Coffee Program


Great coffee is not an accident.

Director of Coffee, Dr Smood

Andrew Oberholzer is the award-winning barista that helms the coffee program at Dr Smood.

During his time, Oberholzer scooped up wins around the country at coffee competitions, placing 3rd at the Reno Coffee Champs qualifier in 2017 and snagging 1st place at the Denver Coffee Champs qualifier in 2018.

“I love the ritual, the nuance, and the science [of coffee], but I really love serving people something amazing to start their day. To be able to have such a huge impact on someone’s day is an opportunity is very appealing to me. Great coffee is not an accident,” says Oberholzer.

Oberholzer went to school for Computer Science, during which time he worked at a cafe and fell in love with coffee. Hard. Post-college, he took a job doing network security for large accounting firm for 6 years. But for Oberholzer, it was just a job. Deeply unimpassioned, he moved to New York City in 2013, took a job as barista “...and set out to learn everything I could.”

From barista, Oberholzer launched up the ranks at Joe Coffee as manager at Joe Pro Shop (the only multi roaster location at Joe), to Head Roaster, and ultimately to Director of Coffee Strategy. Now, Oberholzer heads the most ambitious coffee program in the world at Dr Smood.

Three hallmarks that he aims for in all the coffees he roasts are sweetness, structure, and clarity. And while Oberholzer is deeply entrenched in the world of specialty coffee, he believes ultimately coffee is a personal preference - there is no right and wrong.

“I feel strongly that everyone should drink their coffee how they best enjoy it without concern for whatever the most current trend may be,” says Oberholzer.

But what you will find when Oberholzer does roast a batch or expertly pulls an espresso is a great cup of coffee. His are all about balance, structure, and nuance between the sweetness, acidity, body, mouthfeel and finish. Each of those components play their part while enhancing the others without ever overwhelming explains Oberholzer. He works with Dr Smood’s trademark housemade almond, coconut, and cashew nut mylks to perfect non-dairy classic espresso and specialty beverages that go beyond traditional coffee - elevating each cup from quotidien to a delicious transformative experience from first sip, sans dairy.   

“I want people to realize that they can still enjoy - actually, crave- their favorite, classic espresso beverages without dairy-milk. Our housemade nut mylks - creamy, luscious, and plant-based - actually create a way more silky mouthfeel and really let the espresso flavors shine. We have customers coming in all the time asking if they can buy our nut mylks to take home,” says Oberholzer.

And while you might expect him to favor some unique, single origin pour over brew (“Black coffee has always been and always will be my favorite coffee beverage”) Oberholzer’s other tastes my surprise you. Outside of his go-to small black coffee from Dr Smood, he is a not-so-secret fan of a non-java beverage: Golden Mylk Latte.

“I really love the Golden Mylk Latte with cashew mylk. In my opinion, there is no other drink like it out there. The fresh turmeric juice is combined with just the right amount of spice [black pepper]. It’s like chai, but with super powers,” says Oberholzer.

He’s not one to turn down a glass of red wine either. Like coffee tasting “…there’s an endless amount of terroir, varietals, processes and tasting notes to obsess over.”

With big plans for Dr Smood’s coffee and roasting program, Oberholzer’s ideal future for coffee is one where everyone is a passionate steward of the environment, “... all the while paying producers a premium for their hard work, extensive knowledge, and passionate dedication.”

PeopleMartha Garza