We are here at Lamppost Coffee Roasters, and I'm excited to introduce you to Val, the coffee maven. I think you're really going to love her story.
Valorie was a nurse for twenty-four years before getting into coffee. Her family was the starting point, with husband, Jeff, telling her it was time. She always wanted to own a café, and once her kids were grown, he said it was time she start pursuing her dream.
Married to an engineer, Val found herself learning about trade study and realized, who's going to roast for her? By default, Jeff became the roaster. So together, they learned about business and about coffee, and opened their family owned business. They converted their garage into a roastery! Following protocol, they went through the process with the Dept of Agriculture and it is licensed as an official food processing plant, where they could begin to sell their coffee.
All three of their children have gotten involved. Their oldest daughter, now in Texas, created the initial graphic, logo, and lettering. Their daughter Carrie and husband Chris both work for the business. When Carrie was pregnant, their 'littles' in the womb would here the roaster, and it became their white noise. After they were born, it was a comforting sound that could calm them. Such a great story!
Staying with the family theme, they get their Guatemala beans from Maria, a female producer. She took over her family farm when she was 19 years old. "There's a family on the other end." Val likes to remind us. Maria and her family are making a living too. Behind the $6 cup of coffee, there's a family producing this amazing product. It's agricultural, it takes a lot of work and a lot of care. It's a multi-year process for the family to get it where it can be brewed.
As mentioned, coffee master Jeff is in charge of the roasting. On Saturday, they have a full slate, roasting 10 different roasts. They roast for behind the bar, for the espresso, and for the shelves to sell. They keep the coffee fresh, allowing only two weeks on the shelf. After that, they donate the unsold coffee to the Bonney Lake Food Bank.
Jeff takes us through the roasting process. If you're outside when they start roasting, you can smell the process, which smells like an Eggo waffle! They can get up to seven pounds per roast, but prefer to start with smaller batches, a couple two pound batches and a few four pound batches. They have the latest technology for roasting. Using a cloud based program that even allows him to bring up the roast profile on his phone. It also helps track inventory so they can be as efficient as possible, with little waste.
Another activity that's fun is 'cupping'. They do this for two reasons. First, quality control. This is to ensure if an adjustment in the roasting was missed, they compare the coffee side be side to see if they can sell it, and if it is off, they will not put it in rotation. The other reason is to taste the coffee. If it's a new coffee, what's the flavor profile? Pre Covid, they opened this activity up to the public. They haven't been able to do the traditional cupping, sharing cups, sharing by spoon tastings. Sometimes tasting two or three brand new coffees, customers would help them choose the next offering. Keeping customers safe is the priority, but they are looking forward to when they can start this tradition again.
I'd like to thank Val and Jeff for letting us behind the scenes. I can definitely feel the passion they have for their business. And my favorite takeaway is that it's not just a cup of coffee. Behind this cup of coffee, there's a family.