The loss of a truly passionate barista. Joel Starr will be missed.

Just got off the phone with Chuck Jones and he informed me that Joel Starr, previously of Ninth St. Espresso in NYC, and currently working for Castle and Company in Los Angeles, California, passed away on a vacation in Brazil.

My heart and thoughts go out to his family and friends. This is a sad day for the specialty coffee industry and so sad to lose someone with so much passion and love for coffee.

If anyone has stories they would like to share about Joel, or would like to write anything else, please feel free to share in the comments section.

- Matt

from left to right; Phillip Hand (Supreme Bean), Greg Torres (La Mill Coffee), Kei Okumura (La Mill Coffee), Ty McNulty (Groundwork), Joel Starr (Castle and Company), Tim Castle (Castle and Company), James Marcotte (IntelligentsiA Coffee) Photo by Joan Nielsen

Here is an open letter from Tim Castle and their team:

Dear Friends and Colleagues -

It is with great sadness that we must report the passing of our good friend and associate Joel Starr.

After traveling to some coffee farms in Brazil, Joel was taking some vacation time in Sao Paulo and there contracted Meningococcal Meningitis Septicemia early Monday morning. The infection was extremely aggressive and despite what we believe to have been state-of-the-art care at Sao Luis Hospital in Sao Paulo, Joel succumbed to the infection yesterday evening.

It is shocking to all of us that we could lose such a vibrant and talented young man with so little warning. We will keep you posted as to the plans and of the family as we become aware of them. Obviously, Joel's parents and brothers are devastated and our hearts go out to them.

With great sadness,

Tim, Joan, Dana and David

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Comment by Xolie Morra on November 26, 2009 at 3:57pm
I met Joel when I was about 10 or 11 years old. Even though i picked up the guitar when i was 7 years old, Joel was the one to really teach me how it worked and showed me the ropes. His mom was my music instructor for many years and the two of them inspired me in so many ways. I got back in touch with Joel in 2007 via Myspace and he came over to my house where he proceeded to tell me all about coffee...Ironically I had picked up a love for the trade when I lived in Seattle, but it was (again) Joel who sparked a real interest and taught me more than I ever knew before when it came to coffee. I have been searching for him this past year and only just now found this posting. It pains my heart to think of this world without him in it because he was such an inspiration. I cried for about an hour today. Just makes you really see the impact of something as simple as giving your time to someone else to teach them.
Comment by Natalie Ferraro on September 3, 2008 at 7:21am
Joel was also an amazing producer and musician. I blogged about the last song we were working on before he left for...

he will be missed.
Comment by Mike Ferguson on August 29, 2008 at 4:15pm
Joel was always unreasonably patient with my tardiness in getting information or quotes for articles. His curiosity was always greater than the task at hand.

Comment by Luis Rodriguez on August 28, 2008 at 5:30pm
It was always a pleasure to talk about coffee with Joel... i will miss every email about harvest and markets and reading his articles... Joel.. you'll be missed! hasta luego...
Comment by Colleen, your friend and mine on August 28, 2008 at 8:33am
He was my favorite buddy broker. We would just shoot the shit in emails, poking fun at our jobs and bosses. He had a great spirit and was one hell of a Minguero.
Comment by nisanperera on August 28, 2008 at 1:10am
i'm not sure what to say, i lived with joel for the last year and a half and he was always a genuinely amazing person. i'm shocked and saddened to lose one of the better people and friends i have known in this life, my heart goes out to his family.
Comment by Chuck Jones on August 27, 2008 at 4:47pm
It was truly an honor and experience cupping with Joel. I'm so sad for him and his family. Where is the silver lining?

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