One of the country's best-known coffee experts was killed in a freak accident over the weekend—by a coffee machine. Police say Jim Karr, 48, was setting up the large machine in a park tent ahead of Chicago's Bike the Drive festival when he lost his balance, tried to steady himself by grabbing the machine, and was crushed when it landed on top of his head and chest, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Karr, a technician who spent years working as Intelligentsia Coffee's director of brewing technology before founding SteamVolt, knew coffee brewing equipment as well as anyone in the country and was well-known and well-liked in the industry, associates say.
"In terms of the work Jim did, he was one of the very few in the country that was known as being a top expert at what he did," Nicholas Choo of California's Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters tells DNA Info Chicago, describing him as easygoing but passionate about his craft. Karr, whose SteamVolt sought to "advance the mechanics of craft coffee," was a "legend and mentor to the entire specialty coffee community," Dark Matter Coffee said on its Facebook page. "His work will forever be lived out by the people he has touched in life." (Read more coffee stories.)