Hi, my name is Luke Balslov, and that is a picture of me holding a baroque trumpet. While I am a writer and founder of Best of Brewing, my primary job is being a music performer and teacher. You can read my music biography below, but I imagine you’re curious about my relationship with specialty coffee!

I’ve been involved with specialty coffee since 2013, both as a home coffee nerd and through several years working a side job as a barista. I’ve made all kinds of coffee and espresso drinks over the years for myself and for customers. Besides that, I’ve also purchased more specialty coffee gear than I care to admit.

Best of Brewing author Luke Balslov

At home, I own and regularly brew on all the classic brewers: pour overs, AeroPress, French Press, and Siphon. Besides barista work, I’ve also had lots of at-home espresso machine experience and gone through many grinders over the years. Yes, I’m the guy who travels everywhere with his AeroPress, hand grinder, and whatever specialty coffee beans I happen to have.

Best of Brewing author Luke Balslov brewing a V60 pour over coffee

During my graduate music degree at Stony Brook University, some friends and I even started a pop-up specialty coffee shop in our school lounge…not sure how many university rules it broke, but our fellow musicians certainly loved the access to specialty pour-over coffees!

For anyone who knows a classical musician, it should come as no surprise that pursuing the arts and having a passion for coffee go hand in hand. I believe that my relentless pursuit of achieving ideal results in music performance transferred perfectly to the specialty coffee passion of always aiming for the most delicious cup of coffee.

So, I hope my coffee articles help me and my readers further develop their passion for specialty coffee.

Lastly, besides coffee, I am also passionate about meditation, philosophy, and psychology. You can check out my more personal blog and podcast Exploring Kodawari for that content. I believe that the concept of Kodawari, which is the relentless pursuit of perfection, goes hand in hand with the pursuit of brewing the most delicious coffee possible. I also occasionally publish related content on Medium, and you can check out my LinkedIn profile for even more!

Luke Balslov Musician Biography

Luke Balslov, a native of Long Island, New York, regularly performs around the country on both modern and baroque trumpets. While in New York, Luke performed under renowned conductors such as Rossen Milanov, Edwin Outwater, George Manahan, and Jeffrey Milarsky while also maintaining a large private teaching studio. More recently, he moved to Miami, where he began regularly performing with the New World Symphony and played under conductors such as Michael Tilson Thomas, Marin Alsop, Stéphane Denève, and Matthias Pintscher. He has also played concerts with the Miami Symphony Orchestra and the South Florida Symphony Orchestra. When not performing, he works as a teaching artist with the Miami Music Project, where he enjoys teaching under-resourced children the power and beauty of music.

Luke received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music performance at Stony Brook University, where he studied privately with Kevin Cobb. During his Master’s degree at Stony Brook, he began studying baroque trumpet under the guidance of Kris Kwapis and Arthur Haas. These studies sparked a passion for early music, and in 2016, he attended the American Bach Soloists Academy in San Francisco, where he studied with John Thiessen and played under director Jeffrey Thomas. Luke has since performed on baroque trumpet with Portland Baroque Orchestra, Staunton Music Festival, Sonnambula, Upper Valley Baroque, Cantate Chamber Singers, Oklahoma Bach Choir, and others, including as a soloist with Mercury Chamber Orchestra and American Bach Soloists.

Aside from music, Luke is extremely passionate about meditation and mindfulness, and during the pandemic, this passion inspired him to start a podcast and blog with his wife Yankı called Exploring Kodawari. On the podcast, they have conversations with each other and with guests about music, artistic excellence, psychology, philosophy, and various other topics. And for the blog, Luke loves how writing helps to clarify thoughts and connect him more deeply to the meaning of life.