Hi. We’re happy you’re here! We thought we’d come out from behind the scenes (and roaster) and share more about ourselves. Honestly, it’s a little uncomfortable for us as we’re both pretty introverted, but we’re learning that being small business owners sometimes means getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Quick Facts about Us
We’re from Virginia, though different parts.
We’ve been together for 13 years total and married for 7.
We have two young kids -- one born during quarantine 2020.
We own a sweet pitbull mix dog named Lily.
We’re George Mason University grads.
And we work full time jobs outside of the coffee or hospitality industries.
Back in 2010, we were struggling like so many 20-somethings during the recession since the job market remained unstable. We both wanted secure jobs while also trying to figure out what fulfilled us. We watched as some friends and acquaintances lost their jobs and turned it into an opportunity to pursue something they really loved and were interested in. It was incredibly inspiring and allowed us to dream.
One of the biggest things we always agreed on was owning some sort of store or café. The more we explored NYC — where we lived at the time — and traveled around, the more we kept coming back to coffee. It started to turn into a hobby — finding new shops to try as well as brewing at home. When we traveled, we built visiting local coffee shops into our itinerary. In the beginning, we had about three methods to brew coffee at home, none of which were automatic drip coffee machines. No shame in them. They’re so easy and convenient. It just wasn’t for us, especially in a tiny apartment. Over time, this hobby grew into something more.
While living in NYC and later in Virginia, Greg worked in catering and high-end dining. Greg often took it upon himself to be in charge of the coffee maker and put in extra effort to clean out the coffee machines. Pro tip: Occasionally clean out your drip coffee machine with vinegar and hot water. Leftover coffee in the machine can give your freshly brewed coffee a stale and bitter taste.
Eventually, he worked at a local coffee shop to get some experience as a barista and that fueled the drive even more to pursue something in coffee.
Why a Coffee Business?
A big part of what we love about coffee is how it brings people together. People from all walks of life and places all over the world enjoy coffee. Even if they don’t drink it, it still touches their lives in some way.
We both come from Italian families — where espresso-based drinks were first created — so, as you can imagine, both coffee and food were central growing up. From age 10, Greg’s job in his family was to always make after-dinner coffee using the moka pot.
Just the smell of coffee, let alone the taste, can be so comforting and warming. It feels like home.
Enter Coffee Roasting
Even though we’ve always talked about opening a cafe, we decided to begin our journey with coffee roasting. Through coffee roasting, we’ve learned more about sourcing coffee, working with farms versus an importer, coffee varieties and, most importantly, we have more control over the quality of the end product.
Roasting is a science. You don’t just turn on a machine and a timer and let it do it’s thing. You have to measure heat, timing, etc. for consistency. Roasting can bring out different flavor notes in the same coffee variety, so most roasters create their own flavor profiles based on how they prefer to roast each variety. We’re still working up to that level, but it’s something Greg really enjoys doing — testing and developing those formulas to produce the best coffee.
Launching Amid a Pandemic
When people realize that we launched during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re often met with shock. Trust us, sometimes we’re still in shock that we did it. We’d been working for over a year at that point to get the business up and running: choosing and researching a name, researching and purchasing a starter roaster, test roasting, branding and building a website, and so much more. We talked about whether to wait until things got “back to normal,” but we felt restless and decided to take the leap. It certainly hasn’t been easy, but we’re so happy we did it.
In some ways, it actually was better this way because it’s allowed us a grace period to make mistakes and improvements as we’ve gone along. Without many in-person events, we’ve had more time to dedicate to those improvements as well as creating relationships in the area, which is also really important to us. And, we have to say, everyone has been so welcoming and supportive, which has to be one of the greatest parts of this entire experience. The way other small business owners have offered advice or support has been amazing. We’re incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such a great community.
So What’s Next?
As you can imagine, we want to expand and grow our business. Because of the pandemic, we started and have been running the business online with only a few in-person events. We’re working on getting into farmer’s markets, local shops, and, hopefully, we’ll be able to open up a storefront in the near future!
We’re constantly learning about the world of coffee. We know a lot but there is still so much to uncover. It’s so important to us that we make a positive contribution to the industry through the farms and companies we partner with to the environmental impacts we’re making as well as supporting our local community. Each day, we continue to develop and work on the best ways for us to achieve these goals.
We’ve said it before but it cannot be said enough—thank you for being here, for supporting us in whatever way that is, and for drinking our coffee!
We hope to continue to serve you the best coffee for years to come!