Passion: Coffee Roasting and conversation
Background: Duane and Cory have been drinking coffee for as long as they can recall. About 10 years ago, after learning about roasting craft coffee from Paul Kurtz (of Hemisphere Coffee Roasters), they started doing their own roasting in a popcorn air popper. This led to more trial-and-error, tasting, and hoping for something that could create more reliable batches. Next, Duane and Cory learned that they could modify a bread maker into a fabricated coffee roaster. This new setup allowed them to influence the temperature and time of roasting, eventually creating a solid cup of coffee.
In 2020, Duane and Cory tossed aside the popcorn popper and breadmaker to invest in their first official coffee roaster. Now, there are hopes of one day producing enough to regularly sell coffee bags at retail under the name “Back Porch Coffee Co.” and invite people in to talk and share life stories around the roaster. Their dream is still a decade young, but now you can enjoy their story of coffee and community while sipping on a cup from a bag of their freshly roasted, single-origin coffee beans.
"As a pastor, I was told by a friend that I needed a hobby. Something that I can come home and do and it pushes my mind to think about other things and give myself a break from the emotional depth of my work."
“I’ve been doing this longer than any other endeavor that I had gotten myself into. It’s because it affects your everyday life. There were times where I thought about getting out of roasting, because of the time commitment, or my life just got busy. But then I would think 'well, I need coffee this week, so I’ll roast some.’ It’s a hobby that produces something that I use every day... it keeps you coming back for more."
“Not only do we enjoy roasting, but the actual drinking of a cup has led to starting a 'Coffee Klatsch.' We used it as a platform for people to invite their unchurched friends to enjoy a good cup of coffee and to give them an opportunity to hear the Gospel. Coffee naturally has a story, especially the story of Diego in Nicaragua… where there’s a redemptive Gospel story that goes with it. Everybody loves poverty alleviation, but this takes it to another level and brings in the Gospel to that conversation."
“The thing that we found was that coffee enabled us to also connect with people in our church who were in the middle of experiencing life, the good and the bad. We got to know people on a whole different level, through the event of a coffee tasting. We hung out and discussed things that typically don't get talked about in the setting of a church lobby."
"For us, the goal isn’t to just sell a lot of coffee. We have this hobby that lets us sit with people and encourage them... speak life to them. For us, the coffee klatsch is the main goal, with the opportunity for valuable conversation. Hopefully, the retail sales of the coffee just allows us to afford the hobby and keep it moving in the direction of learning and making better coffee."
"You are trying to create a taste. With each bean, you are trying to figure out what you can do with it to get the best result. You can take a bean, roast it, and then you can make a pour over, an americano, a cubano, a latte, or a cappuccino. The variety of products is endless from the same beginning."
“You can’t be married to the numbers and science of roasting. It can also be all about the color of the bean. The numbers we write down are more of a roadmap, and then you can start to tweak things from there. You do want to be able to duplicate some of the good things you’ve found in roasting a specific bean.”
“I like that it is a bit of a family thing. I could be roasting with anybody… but it just wouldn’t be the same. If we start roasting a lot more and eventually get a larger roaster, maybe we can get Cody (Duane’s other son) to buy into it as well.”
"My ultimate dream with coffee would be like where I saw someone who had bought a shipping container, and put a roaster at one end of it, and a serving area in the other end. That would create an environment for great coffee and close conversation. Anything to create conversation.
Some places strictly sell coffee retail online, and that’s not what we want. Then, it just becomes roasting as much as you possibly can to sell it and make money.
But, if we could talk to people while we're roasting, and show them what we are doing, then that would be really cool.
It would be great if we could just have Saturday mornings be open for people to come and see us roasting, have a cup, buy a bag. One of us could roast, while the other is serving and telling people what is going on during the roasting, having conversations."