A Coffee Roaster’s Journey

There’s a guy on YouTube named Gary Smith who is the owner of Mukilteo Coffee.  I just love his passion.  He’s been a coffee roaster for 30 years and he still seems pretty happy about it, ecstatic even (visit his website here: http://www.mukilteocoffee.com/).  In fact Gary seems to be the embodiment of a typical coffee roaster – very passionate about his product, yet doesn’t take himself too seriously and seems always to be ready for a little bit of mischief.

You can watch one of his YouTube videos here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fqXoGlZSuY

In fact if you spend some time on YouTube you can learn quite a lot about coffee roasting and the whole process from bean to cup.

So what’s the point here?, you ask.

It is about five o’clock in the morning, I’m drinking a fantastic cup of Kenya Acacia, the birds are chirping, it’s cool (not 30C yet!), and I just happen to be thinking of what an interesting business coffee roasting is and the 20 year journey from concept to reality that The Lovely & Talented Roast Mistress and I took to get here.


20/20 hindsight asks me the haunting question – Why didn’t you jump in way back then you dum-dum?  By the way, the ‘dum-dum’ is me.  How could it ever be the case with TL&TRM?, or as one insightful customer has dubbed her – The Patron Saint of Kick Ass Coffee.


You see coffee roasting is one of those unique businesses that often goes from love to commerce.  I don’t think there are a lot of folks out there who are neutral about coffee who get into the roasting business.  In fact once you do you find out that it is a pretty tough business.

Through it all though it is one of those businesses that, because of the passionate people involved, is a joy to be involved with.  Just take a look at this website’s testimonial page and know that just about every day we are humbled as coffee drinkers across Ireland and beyond extol the savoury delights of Red Rooster Coffee.

And while we’ve got competitors, most of them feel that there is plenty of room for everyone.  So if we’ve got a problem, or need some advice, or if another roaster calls and asks for help, we’re thankful to receive it and happy to give it.  I can’t think of too many businesses where there is such an interchange of information and encouragement so happily given.

Just the other day we had one wholesale customer, a very seasoned and sophisticated coffee buyer, who demanded that we charge him more money because, as he said, such good coffee deserves more profit.  Now where are you going to find that in the knock-down-drag-out world of commerce!?!

So it has been an interesting journey and we’re gladly realizing what we always knew, what the business books often encourage — Do what you love and love what you do.  That is advice that is right on target.  You’re probably not going to get rich, certainly not without years lot of hard work, but at least when you get up at five in the morning it is likely you’ll be motivated to count your blessings and write about it for your blog.

(If you are getting up at five o’clock in the morning to ruminate about your work, and it isn’t putting a smile on your face, it’s time to do something about it.  The clock is ticking!)