Fox Valley Magazine’s interview with Iraq War Veteran Sal Dazzo of Gun Barrel Coffee
Fox Valley Magazine: Sal, you are a U.S Army veteran of the Iraq war. How long were in active service and where were you stationed?
Sal Dazzo: Basic training and AIT at Fort Jackson. My first duty station was Camp Hovey in South Korea 12 miles from the DMZ, then Fort Story in Virginia, Fort Bragg in North Carolina and then Iraq.
Fox Valley Magazine: How did you get interested in roasting coffee and how many years have you been doing it?
Sal Dazzo: I first started roasting with my brother Tony. We were always a big coffee drinking family. My mother used to make expresso the old Sicilian way on a tiny pot on the stove. I’ve been roasting to develop our blends for the past 2 years.
Fox Valley Magazine: What made you finally take a leap of faith and launch Gun Barrel Coffee with your partner Brian Seebauer?
Sal Dazzo: Everyone in our family and our friends kept asking for our coffee. We knew it was a great product and Brian and I had been trying to find a way to give back to veterans and first responders for a long time. So this was a perfect fit.
Fox Valley Magazine: How did you decide on the company name?
Sal Dazzo: Brian’s dad used to tell stories about using his gun barrel to stir coffee when he made it in the Army while in Vietnam. We hope it was a joke. Whenever we had really good coffee we would call it Gun Barrel Coffee as an inside joke so we thought we would use it for the company.
Fox Valley Magazine: What country or countries are your coffee beans sourced from and how do you get them to Geneva IL?
Sal Dazzo: Brazil. Vietnam, Tanzania, Sumatra and Nicaragua. We order from 2 different wholesalers in New York. All of our beans arrive green. I blend and roast each type of coffee differently.
Fox Valley Magazine: How many different coffee blends do you currently offer?
Sal Dazzo: Currently we off 8 types. Little Rocket Man, Stand To, Hooah, MOAB, R & R, Cuff’em Joe, Engine & Zero Dark Thirty. We also have 2 more in development.
Fox Valley Magazine: How often do you have to roast coffee to keep up with demand?
Sal Dazzo: Most weeks I roast about 4 hours a day, 4 days a week. Then I still do packaging and fill orders.
Fox Valley Magazine: What upcoming events will Gun Barrel Coffee be at where attendees can buy your coffee and branded apparel & merchandise?
Sal Dazzo: We are always at the Kane County Flea Market. July 14th we will be at the Kane County Cougar’s Stadium for Rockin For the Troops at 3:00 pm. We are always working with veteran fundraisers so check our website often for upcoming events.
Fox Valley Magazine: Any plans to open up your own coffee shop and retail location?
Sal Dazzo: No
Fox Valley Magazine: It’s the best coffee I have ever had. Why does it taste so good?
Sal Dazzo: We take great pride in the fact that our coffee is smooth, contains low acidity and is never bitter. The secret is in the blending and roasting process.
You can order Gun Barrel Coffee online at gunbarrelcoffee.com or pick it up at local select retail locations.