It seems that the last few years of my life, whether directly or indirectly, have been geared towards the Grand Opening of Proper Grounds Coffee Roasters. And if you are reading this, the time has come. Proper Grounds is open for your business!
In 2004, I left my home in Eureka, Kansas to attend college at the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk). I started college as a student of Pre-Pharmacy, but after a change of attitude (and a couple of chemistry courses), I switched the path of my studies to focus on Business Management with a particular interest in Entrepreneurship. Even though I was student of the Business School, I was never that interested in accepting a 9-5 day job, working behind a desk, or for a large corporation. Instead, I was searching for a ‘Lifestyle’ business career that fit my mentality and personality, with hopes of finding a career that would allow me live a balanced life. Like most individuals with the entrepreneurial spirit, I wanted flexibility and freedom in my decision-making, I wanted to be my own boss, I wanted to create something for myself from scratch. This period of my life is also when I discovered a local coffee shop and freshly roasted coffee.
I have been working directly on the Proper Grounds business concept for a little over a ‘‘long’’ year now. And after thinking about the path that has led me to this point, I came to the realization that there are many indirect, but progressive contributions to the development of the Proper Grounds business concept that have taken place over the past few years. This progression of events began the day I was introduced to the world of great coffee and they have continued to lead me to where I am today.
To sum it up in a timely fashion in order of occurrence:
- Discovered Z’s Espresso and coffee shop, a local coffee roaster in Lawrence, Kansas, where I began buying coffee and espresso drinks
- Purchased a blade grinder and started buying whole bean coffee to brew at home with my automatic drip coffee maker Upgraded to burr grinder for better extraction and flavor
- Started brewing with methods other than automatic drip for more control and experience (i.e. French Press, stovetop espresso maker, single cup pour over)
- Moved to Oregon
- Became interested in home-roasting my own coffee
- Purchased a hot-air popcorn popper (1st roaster) and a couple pounds of raw coffee from a local coffee-tea shop
- Desired more control over the roast so I upgraded my roaster to ½ lb. max capacity Hot-Top home roaster (2nd roaster)
- Explored and roasted lots of different varieties of coffee from a home roasting supplier called “Sweet Marias”
- Began providing friends and family with samples of roasted coffee from my ½ lb. home roaster
- Pondered the idea that coffee roasting could be a great lifestyle business
- Began putting together a business plan for a coffee roastery
- The idea of Proper Grounds began to develop more seriously with more focus
- Researched and read about all things coffee related (never ending process)
- Purchased a Diedrich Roaster and attended a week long roasting seminar from Stephan Diedrich, the engineer and brain behind Diedrich Roasters
- Learned about the importance of profiling and cupping coffees from Atlas Coffee Importers Lab Manager, Drew Billups
- Purchased 1100 lbs. of raw coffee from 7 different origins
- Started working with web designer, Nate Percell, to build a website where the coffee of Proper Grounds would be featured
- Loads of work with each coffee, profiling and cupping
- Launching Proper Grounds Coffee Roasters website
That pretty much sums it up and brings us to where we are now, with so much more in between each of those events that I could never write it all down. It has been challenging, but fun, stressful, but rewarding. It takes an enormous amount of mental energy to think about the details that will ultimately contribute to the success of a small business. Roasting is my passion and I know that if I operate ‘Proper’ly, Proper Grounds will succeed. I am so excited and feel very fortunate to be doing what I do, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Proper Grounds Coffee Roaster.
What a journey this has been, and it is only the beginning. Stay Tuned…