Being away from Roasters for a few days sure helps put things in perspective. I’ve had some OK coffee. In our hotel we have Wolfgang Puck. It’s OK. In most of the restaurants around Duluth, they serve Alakef coffee. It’s a family owned local roaster that is probably ten times bigger than Roasters and has been in operation for about 20 years. The coffee is OK. There is a great deal of loyalty in this area for the local guy and that’s a good thing. There is also a Caribou, and I’ve had some, and it was OK.
OK is about as superfluous as I can get. I’ve not had a great, wonderful, awesome cup since I left Roasters last Wednesday, and that’s kind of sad. I’m proud of our shop and I’m proud of our coffee. Sure, there is some ego involved in that statement. I feel a bit of ownership in the quality of what we do. I feel a bit of parental pride in the success of our offspring.
The distance I’ve been from Roasters the past few days has given me an opportunity to examine what it is that makes us different from other coffee shops. In the Duluth area there really isn’t an independent coffee shop. There are restaurants that serve coffee and espresso, there are bakeries that serve coffee and espresso, but there isn’t really a coffee shop that happens to serve bagels, muffins, scones, etc. It seems to be a very difficult thing to be such an animal.
So, where does that leave me in my musing about Roasters coffee? I think I feel very fortunate that my life has taken me down this lane. I think we do an awesome job with that coffee stuff. I think that the energy generated by the coffee, the shop itself, the staff, and the customers contributes to the overall experience of the coffee. And I’m not really sure any of that can be replicated.
We roast quality beans a few at a time under very controlled circumstances. These are brewed and sold to customers who appreciate the quality of the brew they receive. In return, the customers give us their appreciation, their friendship, and their loyalty. A simple formula it seems. Anyone could do it, right? If so, then why is it so hard to get a good cup of coffee in Duluth, Minnesota? I think I’ll quit thinking about it and enjoy getting back to the shop in the morning. Good night!