In The Beginning There Was Coffee
But we won’t go that far back. This is the story of how Daniel and I were given a dream.
Four years ago I met Daniel. He was a relative of my good friend, a hunky wrestler, obsessed with coffee, and most importantly, loved Jesus. So obviously I had to have him. There was just one problem: he lived in Florida. I know some of you would not consider this a problem, but I’m from Oklahoma. We have our own musical. I’m a fan of cold weather and to be honest I just don’t enjoy sand. But these are minuscule when compared with the separation from my family. However, we were in love and none of that mattered. We stayed up late talking about the coffee shop we would one day (in the DISTANT future) own, spent our days discovering new roasters and shops, and learned more every day about how much we didn’t know about coffee.
The dream became reality.
Daniel had a friend named David Smith. He was crazy, energetic, passionate, and he was opening a coffee shop. We jumped at the opportunity to learn the business. I believe wholeheartedly that this was orchestrated by God. The next few months could only be explained as a supernatural act. Everything was moving at breakneck speed. It was a whirlwind of excitement, difficulty, and tons of learning. The Coffee Barn and Bakery was born. Daniel involved himself in as much as he could, thinking that one day this experience would be indispensable in opening a shop of our own. Then, just before Daniel and I left for our wedding, the most amazing/scary/exciting/wonderful thing happened: David asked us if we wanted to take over The Coffee Barn. “God, what are you doing? Are we ready? I want to be ready. This is amazing. What.” So we got married, and when we got back the process began. David and his wife, Ashley, eased themselves out of daily operations and we took the reigns. I’m not even going to pretend like it wasn’t terrifying. We had no idea what we were doing and I can’t imagine where we would be without TONS of outside help and the prayers of our loved ones. We learned new things daily, did a lot of things wrong, tried again, and again, tweaked, tweaked, tweaked. But Daniel wasn’t done. He’s a dreamer.
The dream continues to grow.
Daniel has an extreme, studious, annoying devotion to the things he loves. It’s mostly annoying because he loves football. But this is truly one of the things I love most about him. He immersed himself in the culture of coffee and business and his thirst for knowledge was unquenchable. We spent our evenings and every spare moment together reading articles about roast profiles, watching coffee farm documentaries, and listening to interviews of notable roasters around the country. We had just welcomed our son into the world and thought “let’s take on yet another challenge”. Let’s roast. We’re insane. Keep in mind that we still had no idea what we were doing, but that hadn’t stopped us before. So Daniel skimped and saved and borrowed and we bought a Huky 500 sample roaster. It was love. We started small, learning the extremely sensitive art of roasting. At first we roasted only enough beans to replace the espresso blend we had been using. In the coming weeks we had successfully become the sole supplier of all the coffee being used at the Coffee Barn. I will let you imagine what it was like roasting 40 pounds of coffee a week 8 ounces at a time. It was time to upgrade. Our son had his first birthday, we found out we were pregnant again, and we put a down payment on a 3 Kilo U.S. Roaster Corp roaster. Life is amazing and crazy and moves so fast. It’s been almost a year since we purchased the larger roaster. We continue to grow and are committed to never stop learning. I’m positive that this is just the beginning. Daniel and I dream and pray and take crazy steps forward. It’s scary at times but I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.