Growing up in the rural part of Michigan coffee was something I may have choked down early in the morning before hunting. It was something my dad drank as he headed out the door to his job at General Motors. It was something that was brewed for enjoyment by adults at gatherings. Generally speaking, I had no interest in what turned out to me one of my favorite beverages.
Who knew as I grew up in the 1980's that the popularity, variety, knowledge and customer experience of coffee was gaining steam (pun intended :) One of the most well known brands, Starbucks, created in 1971, was starting to get a foothold, turning their first profit in the 80's.
In 1988 I started school at Northern Michigan University and coffee was still just something to keep me awake while studying or something I drank in the morning to help recover from hangover. Little did I know that just a year earlier a Northern Michigan University alum named Howard Schultz bought the Starbucks company. The Seattle based company started a phenomenon expanding all over the world and the brand became a household name. While there are many, many amazing people that exposed United States and the world to the wonders of coffee, Starbucks was likely the biggest to bring it mainstream.
Fast forward to the 1990's and my move to Portland, Oregon. I found coffee and coffee found me. It became a daily ritual as I discovered the wide variety of amazing tasty options. The social aspect of a coffee shop became an important part of my life. Places to try new things, enjoy time with friends or meet with business associates. I was hooked. Portland, like Seattle and a few others cities had a significant and unique culture. Coffee shops were everywhere. Coffee snobs were everywhere. The atmosphere within coffee shops was addictive. The smell of fresh roasted coffee, the industrial and vintage decor, the murmur of conversations, the students studying while others just hung out. I was all in.
Today, I am still addicted to the product, atmosphere and customer experience. I dabble a little in making my own coffee. I've learned about different brewing methods and while I still own a Nespresso and Keurig for that quick cup, I now spend time grinding different times of beans/roasts and brewing them in an AeroPress or French Press. The difference is amazing!
When I started Storming the Castle, the coffee experience and atmosphere was a critical component. I've got to know the great people at Dapper & Wise, a local Portland roaster. They have taught me a lot and have been an amazing partner. I've worked with them to match some of their roasts to major themes at Storming The Castle and now sell sample packs of beans centered on some of the core genres of Storming The Castle. A Science theme (Rocket), A Pop Culture Super (Hero) blend, A Fantasy and Sci-Fi Theme (Dragon) and a Storming the Castle brand blend (Foundation). While I currently only sell these coffee beans online, they will be one of many offerings when Storming The Castle opens it brick and mortar location in the future.
Find out more about Storming The Castle coffee beans here