Kevin Sprague started roasting his own coffee beans as a hobby almost ten years ago when his wife, Marta, gave him a small tabletop roaster. His hobby eventually turned into Noble Coyote Coffee Roasters and now their small-batch artisanal coffee is served at several restaurants (Sissy's and Bryan Street Tavern) and is sold at Jimmy's Food Store and the White Rock and Saint Michael's farmers' markets or through their website. Soon they hope to be on the shelves at Central Market and Whole Foods. Here's a chat about how they got started and the dutiful science of roasting coffee beans.
When did you start roasting coffee? I started about ten years ago with a small tabletop roaster. I started getting online and sourcing the beans from different places, mostly through Sweet Maria's. I did that for so many years, and eventually got a one-pound drum roaster. Then, the company I worked at for 13 years closed down, the timing was perfect and we decided to start our company.
What's the biggest challenge of selling coffee in Dallas? There's a lot of work once you get into it that you don't really think about. Like trying to source beans all the time. I have to track down importers and get them to send samples. Then, the beans change with each crop depending on weather and other things, so I always need new samples. Sometimes they don't send me Fair Trade samples, or they forget. It takes weeks to track it down. Then dealing with shipping companies is a whole other process.
It's also hard trying to sell coffee in the summer heat. Luckily we found that cold-press coffee does really good.