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In 2011, I started working for the largest nationwide coffee roaster & distributer in the the US. I knew nothing about coffee, and I moved 2 hours away for the job. Admittedly I was a little desperate for a job at the time.
I already said when I started there, I knew nothing. I drank my coffee on occasion with lots of cream and sugar. When I eventually moved out of the warehouse and into a sales role, I knew I needed to learn more about coffee if I wanted to flourish.
I started drinking coffee black. I think I did this because everyone else in the office did. At first, it really wasn't my favorite, but after having different coffees just black, I learned that different coffees have different flavors, and you can really taste the difference. Eventually I learned which coffees I liked the most. I couldn't put cream or sugar in ANY coffee, because I wanted to taste the difference in the blends!
I started looking up the different regions where coffee comes from, especially my favorites. I learned more and more about the process and what goes into the fruit to cup experience. My boss at the time mentioned he knew someone who would roast coffee on his stove in a pan. I figured, "I could do that!". So I bought some greens and put them in a pan and started roasting. Minutes later my house was full of smoke. Pretty sure we almost died. My wife didn't approve.
When the smoke cleared, I had a pot of little brown beans that looked like coffee! I let them degas in a mason jar for 2 days before I had my first cup and let me tell you.... IT WAS just okay. It was smooth, but really lacked any depth.
Over the next few weeks and months I roasted a few more times, going from pan to high wall pot. I liked the pot, but the smoke was still an issue. My wife still didn't approve. Luckily I ended up doing well in a promo at work and I won a gift cart. I used that money to buy a propane grill. I set it up with a tiny roasting drum and boy did I think I was hot stuff.
Pretty sure I went on to burn the first 2 or 3 batches... setting the first one ablaze completely. Confidence level down. I did some more research and tinkering, and found the right way to roast in my makeshift roaster.
I was able to produce consistent results at a higher capacity than before. I gave some bags to co-workers and friends under the name Ryan Joe's coffee. That name wasn't very popular. I eventually changed the name to Wayward Bean. It made sense, and my mom loved it. She even started calling me her "wayward son" as we lived hours away.
Eventually we moved back down and with family life and work getting crazy, my little hobby slowly came to a halt. I stopped for a few years, but now I am back!
I like to make graphic design for fun on the side, and one day I had made a new brand for me if I ever wanted to start roasting coffee again. Now that we are stuck in this quarantine, I figured what better time to start roasting again. It really just felt right.
I put a lot of effort and attention to detail when I am roasting coffee. I hope you are all able to see the passion that I put into this. I am excited to start again, and want to keep going until I can't go anymore.
Thank you for reading! Stay Safe!