I grew up yearning for the day that I could finally drink coffee. As a preteen, I would sneak coffee from the leftover pots at family reunions. No matter how many times I was told it would stunt my growth, I keep drinking it. A few decades and 6' later, I am still a huge fan of the coffee bean.
Early in 2012, when I was living in Spokane, I was on the hunt for a place to buy a pound of beans. Little did I know, the pound of beans I would find - and the people I found with it - would change my life. I stumbled into a warehouse down a winding road. I opened the door. It was one of the times in my life that my pure joy can be attributed to sensory overload. The air smelled of the most rich and aromatic coffee I have ever had the chance to smell. From the concrete floor to the 20' ceilings that air was filled with the smell of the good stuff. The roaster and espresso machines were whirring.
As someone who had become pretty familiar with grande, quad shot, almond milk, vanilla macchiatos from Starbucks, I was pretty intimidated. I knew I liked coffee, but did I LIKE coffee. As I started to meet the small powerhouse team behind Roast House, I know I was in the right place. They knew what they were talking about, they really do make Damn Good Coffee, but the never made me feel dumb. It's that simple.
Over the years that have passed since that first encounter, I have had the opportunity to sip countless cups of pour over and espresso with Aaron while he "geeks out" and tells me the difference a couple of seconds can make in the roast process. I have shared laugh after laugh with Allison the logistical magician behind the operation. And I have had more conversations than I can remember with Deb (the fearless leader) - from the power of a brand to the struggles of building a business. The trajectory of this team is one of the reasons I am an entrepreneur today.
Since the day I stumbled into the Roast House warehouse, I have had Roast House coffee in my mug nearly every single morning for three reasons.
It is good coffee. Damn good coffee at that. They take coffee seriously and the results show. They choose the best coffees they can find (and win many many many awards for them) and they perfect each and every roast.
Roast House and I go way back. I remember the feeling of easiness that came after my first few visits. It grew and it grew and before I knew it, I had developed life long friendships. I have sipped their coffees from Spokane to Ethiopia, from San Francisco to Indonesia. Even when times were overwhelming, nobody spoke the same language as me, and all I wanted was chicken nuggets, I knew I had a cup to comfort me.
Roast House cares. Like they really care. About the environment (coffee is usually awful for the environment), about the people (coffee is primarily grown in low & middle income countries - that matters), and about the industry. I remember sitting in awe as Deb explained the ecological benefits of shade grown coffee. Every time they talk in detail about a community they are buying from (and they support communities for the long term), I fell more and more in love. They support women farmers. They support organic. They support sustainability. AND they are leading the industry with coffee quality.
When we started taking steps toward opening The Backporch, I know the call I had to make. Roast House had to be on board. Thankfully they are! We are so honored to serve Roast House coffee at The Backporch. Our espresso and our drip coffee is their Peru Rutas Del Inca:
Rutas del Inca sets itself apart in the Peruvian coffee landscape as a young, quality-driven cooperative that leverages its incredible micro-climate to produce some of the finest coffees in the country. Their area of production is quite different than most parts of the country: the farmers of Rutas del Inca grow their coffee at exceptionally high elevation completely encased by mountain ranges. The weather remains cool and consistent throughout the year which allows for even drying of the coffee. The cooperative is headquartered in the Querocoto District of the Chota Province in Cajamarca, Peru and was founded in 2013 with just 33 members. The cooperative exported its first crop in 2014, cementing itself as a quality-focused, organic-certified producer. The cooperative currently has 258 members—30 women and 228 men—throughout 27 communities in the Querocoto, Huambos and Querocotillo districts.
Now you know the story behind our Damn Good Coffee. Stop in and try it as many ways as you can. In different seasons. In different cups. With different company. Take a pound home and try it your way. The next time you are in Spokane, stop in their tasting room and tell them we sent you. The coffee will evolve over time, just like Roast House and my relationship with them.