My coffee journey began in college. Surprisingly enough, I didn't drink coffee until college. Sure, I might have pressed the button on one of those gas station machines, and gotten whatever french-hazelnut-mocha drink came out, but that's not coffee. I also may have had some Italian roast with cream and sugar when the waiter asked at a restaurant, but I didn't regularly drink coffee until I found myself falling asleep in afternoon classes at the US Naval Academy. And I realized I didn't like coffee. It was bitter, and often ashy. Cream and sugar helped, but I don't like burnt marshmallows, and I didn't like coffee.
By nature, I am an inquisitive person. When something breaks, I want to fix it. When I don't understand something, I pursue learning about it. So I wanted to make my coffee taste better. If half the world drank this stuff, surely someone was doing it right. I tried different brands of coffee. I bought a new coffee pot. Then I went out and bought a coffee grinder. That was my "ah-ha" moment: when the light bulb came on. Almost any coffee ground fresh is better than coffee that's been sold already ground. I began to realize that I could make a cup of coffee that wasn't painful to drink. I didn't need to "pay a price" for my caffeine fix - I could both enjoy the taste of coffee and stay awake in class.
When I found a company that roasted coffee locally, I began to really see the potential in coffee. The flavor that many people associate with coffee - the one that fills can after can in the coffee aisle - that flavor is actually old coffee. Coffee after it has lost all of its other flavors. Did you know that coffee is actually not a bean at all, but a fruit? It's the seeds of the fruit that we call coffee beans. So freshly and lightly roasted coffee can actually have some wonderful fruit flavors. Or floral flavors. Sometimes vanilla, sometimes chocolate. Tea, baking spices, pepper. In fact, coffee is considered only slightly behind wine in its complexity. Just like wine, where you grow and how you grow the coffee makes all the difference. But unlike wine, coffee does not get better with age. So that local roaster that I found in college kept me supplied with coffee that had been roasted in the previous three weeks.
I graduated college, and found myself in Pensacola, Florida. Beginning my career as a Naval Aviator, I also began to dream of one day pursuing a career in coffee. Where, how - I wasn't sure - but I knew that I wouldn't fly forever, and I began to put aside a little money every month for my future business. I also realized that shipping coffee from Maryland to Florida was expensive, and without a local source for good, fresh, coffee I began to experiment with roasting my own. As a tinkerer, I either built or bought-and-modified seven small coffee roasters over the course of the next eight years. With each roaster I learned a little more about coffee. How to coax more nuttiness out of a coffee from Brazil. Or more blueberry out of a coffee from Ethiopia.
After those seven coffee roasters, I found myself in Corpus Christ, Texas. I had met and married my beautiful wife Rebecca only a few years ago in San Diego, and we were expecting our first child. I had two years left in naval service, and enough money saved up that my wife and I began to plan. Should we open a coffee shop, or a coffee roastery? That question was answered the day I found our Diedrich coffee roaster. Diedrich is an American company that has been building coffee roasters in Idaho for over 30 years. Their roasters are world-class, and when I bought our Diedrich roaster is when we committed to opening roastorium. It's taken two more years to do the planning and obtain our licensing and build the roastery, but we are now open for business in the heart of Corpus Christi.