Coffee is our one thing.
In the summer of 2007, we decided to give that one thing a shot.
Rachel, a coffee pro, and Ben, a man of many interests--both of us ready for adventure, and willing to work hard to create something special. We were eager to provide an experience--not only a coffee experience, but a human experience. An experience that inspired, that offered new meanings for common things.
Building a coffee shop from scratch--building anything from scratch--is not glamorous. A full night’s sleep is a pipe dream, and culture bloggers aren’t exactly lining up to cover your grand opening. That’s probably a good thing--bloggers aren’t great with a table saw.
We did everything ourselves, carving old lumber to fashion a bar, ripping out cinder block, scrubbing out that decades-old diesel engine repair shop smell (we didn’t plumb or run electric, but we tried!). We were completely self-funded, which is to say, “barely funded.” We painted for days, bought every piece of used equipment we could find, and coerced three of the best humans we know to join the team. Without the help of friends, family, and a truly special weiner dog, we never could have done it.
We are Midwestern bred--walking rows of beanfields and pulling weeds was expected growing up. This farming work ethic ingrained in us served us well as we began our journey. Rachel worked seventy-hour weeks for the first two years, while Ben spent six years in the corporate world, working to capitalize the business and fund food (you know, for eating). It was hard work, and we claimed to love every minute of it.
We opened small, using just half our building and renting the other part. We added a deck, more chairs, and a full-time trainer. We knocked down a wall and grew into the whole building. We began roasting. We added coffee classes, crowned shift leads, and paved our infamous “off road” gravel lot. We built a new bar (or expert craftsman this time!), expanded our food menu, and set up an outpost at Pinewood Social. We have always been eager to learn, serve, and improve.
Back to the roasting thing: it was always in the plans, and after three years we were ready to begin our roasting journey. Our impetus was honest--we knew the best coffees came as a result of great relationships, directly with farmers. Soon we were traveling to places we’d only read about, and meeting people who were just like us--farmers who were passionate about sharing something amazing with the world. We found ourselves as a part of a larger, global story--the story of humble people doing hard work. We are honored to be a part of this story, and we strive to tell it every day.
We believe that how we do anything is how we do everything. And so in everything we aim to work humbly, and honor those who are a part of this story with us.
When we think of where we’ve come from--our hands covered with sawdust and coffee residue, our eyes eager yet sleep-deprived--we are honored and proud of where we are today. The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) has awarded two of our coffees with top two finishes in their annual roasting competition. We get to work with some of the region’s brightest culinary minds at Pinewood Social, The 404 Kitchen, Farmer’s Daughter, Prima, and Husk to name a few. We have partnered with coffee farmers around the globe. We have employees who are family. We have loyal, joyful customers who are friends.
We are spurred from bed every morning by the allure and wonder of serving a simple experience with you. We are truly grateful to share the coffee experience--and the human experience--with you.
Thank you for being a part of our story.