Coffee is Connections
Throughout the coffee community, and in the Delaware restaurant community as well, support & friendship run stronger than rivalry. Often you’ll find local restaurants side by side donating time and energy to neighborhood nonprofits at charity events. Strangers stopping strangers, just to shake their hands. Small business owners are your friends and neighbors. We each had a dream to make our passion into our career. The long hours and dedication to our craft help bring us together with a comradery.
In late 2019, I started researching the idea of roasting our own coffee for Drip Café. It’s a daunting task. Roasting coffee is not a trade that you can just teach yourself or easily learn on YouTube. This is a craft, and an artistry is needed to perfect each roast. Trial and error can be an expensive method. But I knew roasting would be the next big step to help grow Drip Café.
As I started truckin’ down this path, I reached out to a customer and friend, Micah Becker-Klein, who owns and roasts for Roasting Rabbi Coffees in Delaware. We have known each other for a few years through the café and crossed paths at Phish shows and Grateful Dead gatherings, but now I really needed to lean in and learn from his coffee roasting knowledge. We set up a time for me to visit his warehouse space where he roasts on a Mill City Roaster, so I could absorb as much information from him as possible. As a novice roaster, he offered me all that he could through those lessons in the warehouse, but I could tell that learning to roast coffee was going to be a long process.
While we tasted our freshly roasted coffee, he opened the most recent issue of the Specialty Coffee Association magazine and pointed to an ad for Bellwether Coffee Roasters. Inspiration, move me brightly. It was sleek and new. It was all electric and required very little to install the unit. The roast profiles were automated for consistency time and time again. I knew this was what I needed to help my company grow into the next year. Little did I know what was on the horizon in 2020.
Our Bellwether coffee roaster arrived on March 2, 2020 — just 14 days before it was mandated that all restaurants temporarily shutter our dining rooms. I wasn’t sure if it was the right decision to take on this new business model, but, as it turned out, this coffee roaster was my lifeline. A rope in this uncertain time. This darkness has got to give. The decision to install a coffee roaster at the Newark café helped catapult our online presence throughout the Spring of 2020. It became a major catalyst in connecting with our customers in a new way while we reorganized our restaurants during the early months of the pandemic. Drip Roasting Co. was born.
The ripple of my afternoon with Micah was felt all throughout 2020 and became a nice reminder that every once in a while you can get shown the light, in the strangest places if you look at it right.