Our love for coffee took root in the 1980s when we lived in Berkeley, California. As employment moved Mark’s family to various cities, good beans were usually scarce. A sojourn in Israel landed us near a local roaster and our coffee experience grew to include French pressed and thick, sweet Turkish coffee.
Returning to the U.S. we found grocery shelf coffee too stale and express coffee too pricey. Research revealed that a stove-top popcorn popper could roast coffee beans. Ours was pressed into service. The house smelled of almost burned beans as the popper was rushed from stove to front porch for the required quick cool. The machine burned out in a week. We ordered a Hottop home roaster.
Perhaps the frequent requests we had for our roasted beans, or perhaps the comradery that flourished around coffee led to the idea of commercial roasting. Providentially the Waldman family appeared one day at our church and planted themselves in our small town, hanging Jesse’s accounting shingle alongside Mark’s appraisal service shingle. A partnership was born. Jesse and Mark, both numbers guys and entrepreneurs, explored the possibilities of starting a roasting business. A shop sprang up behind the office building and a trip to Nicaragua gave shape to the vision of sourcing top quality green beans from carefully chosen farms. As much as possible, each branch of the business could benefit Christians and missional efforts. From owner and worker on the farm through the supply chain to roaster and distributor in the Hartsville shop, individuals and families could be blessed with employment and evangelistic opportunities.