This month’s Roaster I plan to keep my eye on. Local home roaster, Joe Bland, shares how far he’s come in a short time, thanks to the support of friends and family.
When did you start drinking coffee?
I started drinking coffee when I was 16. I had $2 and I walked into a coffee shop and asked for the best drink for $2. I walked out with an iced latte and was instantly addicted to the experience.
How did you get into coffee?
Since then, I have always enjoyed visiting coffee shops. Almost on a daily basis, I would find myself in a coffee shop. In college it was a place I could gather with friends for great conversations, study, or listen to open mic music. So many of life’s most inspiring moments originated from a coffee shop experience.
When did you start roasting? Why?
A few years ago I decided to get a little more serious with a quality, at home coffee experience. I bought a home coffee roaster and started with the basic profiles. That developed into retro fitting a thermometer and timer to the roaster and miles and miles of google doc spreadsheets of different profiles. My business partner and friend Matt would share our profiles weekly with particular origins from SweetMarias.com. After a few years experimenting with that and receiving great feedback from friends, family, and strangers, I decided to start 2012 with an online store to sell to people who wanted to purchase. In less than a year, it developed into me having an actual coffee roastery in the back of a local grocery store.
Tell us about your company.
During start up phase of RCC, we really sought out our Why. Our purpose of existence. Sure, great coffee is the result of why we operate but, how will we portray our art to others and invite them into our system. We decided to brand Bean Projects as our community builder. Bean Projects is a way for other organizations, not profits, and individual ideas to receive supplemental funding through coffee sales. So far, we have funded two Bean Projects in 3 months.
We teamed up with Love Wins Ministries for a Valentines Day coffee and coffee bag special. $5 from each bag went to Love Wins. We were able to give them $500 which is enough to help one individual escape homelessness in Raleigh. The other Bean Project we funded was for a music benefit project in Washington DC through Matt Thien’s 10 Songs 10 Days initiative. Matt also teams with other thriving organizations and creates music to serve the organization. RCC was able to sponsor a song on his upcoming album. Future Bean Projects for us include a clean water well in Uganda and Team Raleigh Coffee Company (RCC).
Team RCC is a team of 20 athletes racing in the Ironman Raleigh 70.3 on June 2, 2013. The team will be raising money for the We Build People campaign for the Triangle YMCA. We also remotely partner with the United Way of Virginia Highlands through Anthony’s Desserts in Abingdon, VA. We also see the opportunity each coffee has to be original and delicious by profiling roasts.
We hope to educate the consumer on the many dynamics different coffee origins can offer. How we fund these community projects is through providing the area with these awesome, single origin coffees. We work hard to profile our origins to give the drinker the best experience possible from each unique bean. We will be focusing mostly on light – medium roasts; even with espressos. There are many undiscovered qualities in coffees that can be emphasized when lightly roasting coffees. We occasionally will dark roast beans for a large, bold cup and to blend into our espresso roasts to give the user a diverse and dynamic espresso experience.
What’s your vision?
Our vision is to invite others into our beliefs with coffee. We want to give stellar customer service along with education about how to brew our coffees. We are actively seeking local restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops who share our same beliefs. We hope to expand our minds, knowledge, and network on a humble coffee culture.
Next, is to be forced to physically grow. Not over doing any expenses but also balancing individual strengths in bringing people on board with RCC. We have a small tribe of people who have dedicated time with the company which will be featured on our website soon. We are prepared for quick growth as we see potential opportunities on the horizon.
What advice do you have for new home roasters?
If anyone is interested in becoming a roaster, there are many home roasting options. The best way to learn is to level yourself and seek out someone you admire in the industry. Simply ask. The internet is a vast way to learn about a new Art and share your Art with others.
Find Joe on Twitter @RaleighCoffeeCo