Long Story Short
How We Got Here
The two of us used to giggle and pass notes in 8th grade math. After college, walkabouts, and real jobs, we met back up in Alaska and lived in a old VW van, down by the river. That’s when we decided to open a coffeehouse back in Virginia. We wanted to make a difference. People thought we were crazy. Banks thought we were crazy, but we persevered, starting with a little cart on the mall and at our beautiful city farmers market, and now here we are, 20+ years later, in the middle of a dream, roasting coffee together for people we love and playing around, still giggling like two little monkeys.
The Art of Roasting
The Art of Roasting begins after you have applied the right amount of dreaming and science. Roasting coffee is not alchemy. Our coffee mentor once reminded us that you cannot make gold from straw. You have to start with great green beans. So every week we cup coffees from small farms across the globe from Ethiopia to Panama to Indonesia. We look for coffees that are as satisfying as your favorite chocolate blanket, your threadbare jeans, your dogeared copy of Gravity’s Rainbow. We look for organic, Fair Trade, Rainforest, 4C, and bird-friendly certifications. We look for coffees from small farms where our purchase will have an impact. We look for coffees that will change how you see coffee forever. Above all, we look for beautiful coffees that are so sweet and clean that you will want to marry them.
Once we decide on a coffee, we bring it into our roastery. Then we analyze and profile it to find the bloom of the bean’s natural flavor derived from a multitude of factors including varietal, elevation, rainfall, soil, and processing method. After discovering a bean’s profile, we cup and roast and cup and roast until we find its sweet spot of expression.
Then we roast for you.
Licensed Q Graders
In 2014, we became licensed Q Graders. Why is this so exciting and important? Q graders are professionally accredited cuppers who have passed rigorous certification exams to work on behalf of the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI). Q grader status allows us to be of service to the farmers and producers in the specialty coffee industry.
CQI’s Q Coffee System locates specialty coffee at origin and helps to improve those that have the potential to meet specialty standards. The effect is a common language between buyers and sellers that draws attention to specialty coffee while creating an infrastructure that gives producers greater opportunities to enter the marketplace and to increase their economic viability.
When a coffee moves through the Q Coffee System and is verified as a Q Coffee TM, it signifies an independent confirmation of quality that can truly be deemed specialty. Green coffee samples are submitted to and In-Country Partner (ICP), and 3 Licensed Q Graders cup and score the coffee. Coffee that meet the standards for green, roasted, and cup quality are issued a Q Certificate. If a coffee does not meet specialty standards, it receives a technical report that explains why.