Carlos - Your Humble Barista Man

9:23 PM Anis Widayanti 0 Comments

If we could describe this next person in only one word it would have to be cool.

Carlos Ayala is one cool cat. He is as smoothe as the coffee he brews. In fact, we're fairly certain that the urban dictionary included the word with him in mind.  Born and raised right here in the biggest little city,  if you're ready to hear his tattoo stories, you'll need to sit back, relax and enjoy a good cup of joe while you're at it.

We had the pleasure of hearing his story while sipping on a cup of his cold brew iced coffee and must say, the man makes one mighty fine cold brew.

At 23-years-old, Carlos got his first tattoo of a gun taken from the Black Keys album.
When asked how many tattoos he has now he said, "Too many to count!"
But he's not counting, because as someone who loves art, tattoos are just another expression of that.

"I’ve always been into art," Carlos said, "I used to do sculpture/ceramics back in the day." As part of his love for art, each tattoo is something he has thought about.

Although Carlos had known for a long time that he wanted to get tattoos, he waited until he knew it would be something he would be happy with forever.

From his arm pieces, to his chest and back pieces, Carlos has had eight tattoos inked in the span of five years. One thing he's found interesting is that the more he gets, the more painful they seem to be.  But perhaps it's all about placement.

Right now Carlos is getting a Sugar Skull full back piece by artist Jason Freeman of Triumph Tattoo. Where he used to be able to tolerate the pain for hours, he has only been able to have work done in one-and-a-half  hour increments on this particular piece.

"Usually, I could do three to four hours at a time , but this has been extremely painful, like close to tears." Ayala said. But Carlos is dealing with the pain because he knows the end result will be worth it.

Although Reno has a plethora of shops to choose from, Carlos had good things to say about the tattoo culture here in the city.

"I kind of like where it’s going," Ayala said. "I like how Nightmare (Now Lasting Dose) has changed and it has an art gallery. It seems people are getting more into the art side of it."

Carlos says the art gallery at Lasting Dose is one example of how the Reno tattoo culture is at a good place. Upcoming conventions like the Lady Luck Convention later this month promote the artistic side, says Carlos. The diversity and different styles of art that are available at the convention is what draws people. 

"At conventions you get to meet all sorts of artists who have all different styles." Carlos said.

 For Carlos, he attributes his good experiences to doing his homework ahead of time.  

"I do a lot of research, I look at their portfolios, their Instagram," Carlos said. "I ask around to people who have a lot of tattoos. When I wanted a traditional piece, one name kept coming up and that’s Jason Freeman."

Although it was tough to choose, Carlos said his favorite shops are Lasting Dose for the art gallery as well as Aces for the overall feel there and the guys are really cool.  Yet when  it comes to the artist,  if they have quality work out there and a good reputation, Carlos is willing to check them out. What it really boils down to is quality work and enthusiasm in the piece.

"When I go to my artist, if he’s not stoked about it, I’m not going to have him do it for me." Carlos said.

He's had some of the best artists around town from Jason Wheeler (who moved out of the area), to John McCann, Carlos Perez, Mike Curatello and now Jason Freeman who is working on a full back piece.

"I like getting work done from all sorts of artists," Carlos said. "It’s just like I can’t have the same cup of coffee every day."

And Carlos knows his coffee! Here's the rest of the story on Carlos, the Humble Coffee Roaster.  

"When I picked up coffee everything just kind of fell together."

He's actually a pro! Carlos spent a week training at Klatch Coffee in Southern California, one of the largest professional coffee roasters that boasts a quality, casual and laid back experience for specialty coffee roasters. While there, Carlos trained with two-time U.S. Barista Champion Heather Perry, no relation to Katy Perry, although in his own photo caption, Carlos wishes he could play guitar, but we digress.

As most of his fellow co-workers know, Carlos has a side business called Humble Roasters Coffee Company and while Carlos has been working for Patagonia for eight years now, coffee is what he dreams about at night.

"I actually got into brewing coffee at work," Ayala said. " There was a guy in our returns department who used to brew coffee and we would give him money but he ended up quitting."

And that's when Carlos quietly started brewing for his co-workers in the warehouse. His coffee was a hit, and soon people were paying him for a cup of quality coffee in the morning.

"It’s either this (working at Patagonia) or my coffee." Carlos said, but he's definitely working on his dream to open his own shop someday.  Carlos attributes a lot of his success to a good friend Aiden who is the head roaster at Kolika Roasters here in Reno. Carlos gets his organic fair trade beans through Kolika, a roasting company here in Reno and they get their beans from all over. For anyone interesting in making their own roast, Carlos is sure it can be done at home. You just have to buy good beans and know how to do it. That's exactly what he wanted to do. Aiden inspired the name, Humble Coffee with the idea that they could make the best cup in town but say it in all humility.

Outside of his next tattoo or good cup of Jo, you might also find Carlos climbing or playing soccer, a few other hobbies done in his spare time. In addition, Carlos prides himself on taking in the world's beauty through photography - using every form of camera imaginable. You can check out his photo blog at

" I love shooting with all kinds of cameras – from film, go pro, iphone, digitial – if it’s one thing I love more than coffee it’s photography."

Carlos sells his cold brew coffee in a 1 litre bottle for $20 and a growler size for $33. Refills are $25 on the growler. Carlos is currently working on a website but in the meantime, if you'd like to try Humble coffee give Carlos a call at 742-4310.

For more information on the Lady Luck Convention taking place here in Reno, March 20-22nd, check out their website.  We hope to see you there!  

No..el and Jen <3