We have been in coffee for a long time now and we have done everything in a different order than most coffee companies. Way back in the day, when we first opened our café, we bought our coffee roasted by small, local companies while we concentrated on running the cafe and keeping up with the lines.
And then slowly, slowly we grew restless with our coffee and started to explore the big, wide world of roasting coffee on our own. It was intimidating. And many cautioned us: Why mess with your success?
But, rarely content to leave well enough alone, we began to search for our roaster. After lots of research and years of observation, we knew we wanted a German roaster called a Probat because of the way the air flow envelopes the bean. A Probat is akin to a convection oven for a baker because of its circulating air. We knew we would source top-notch beans so we wanted them to be cooked but not charred -- and a Probat gave us this control and it gave us the ability to hand make our coffee the old school way, with our senses.
At long last, we unearthed a vintage Probat L-12 in of all places… Benicia, California. We road-tripped over there and drove to the very tippy top of a sleepy neighborhood where John Laird had a Probat L-12 in his garage.
We smelled the coffee roasting before we saw the machine itself. It was love at first smell and then sight. And against almost everyone’s counsel, we bought the machine.
The process matured and grew as we learned more and more. We took trips to coffee farms in exotic places and met amazing farmers. We educated ourselves more and more. We trained our baristas better and better.
And then we started to crave and need a different roasting option and scoured everywhere to finally find a massive vintage Probat UG22. It was a search that lasted more than three years, but suddenly we found a vintage Probat UG 22 in Germany. Without haste, we loaded ourselves onto a plane headed for Emmerich, Germany. We spent one whole week roasting and tasting and, in the end, we bought the hulking epic beauty!! The cast iron roaster was first patented in 1868 and it hasn’t changed much since then. It is an old fashioned looking machine that stands tall and proud and wears well with age. And then, we found our all cast iron beauty, L-5...
We are serious about coffee, but for us, coffee is seriously fun, and it is clearly an adventure without pretension.
No matter how much we know, we want to learn more. And coffee delivers with its endless nuances and details. We love it.