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Meet Jeff Taylor of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeff Taylor, co-owner of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters.

Chuck Patton, the former owner and founder of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters and now, Head Coffee Buyer, discovered his passion for exceptional coffee nearly 20-years ago with a small home roaster he received as a gift and some experimental roasting in his garage in La Jolla, CA. He sold coffee to neighbors and at the local farmers’ market and eventually boldly opened his first café across the street from a local Starbucks. Becoming a fast favorite with the local community and an internationally award-winning coffee roaster, BRCR was one of the first coffee businesses to push the envelope on quality coffee in San Diego and the first to bring directly traded coffee to the region.

BRCR has been named Micro-Roaster of the Year (2012), received a number of regional and national awards for quality coffee and excellence, and includes three retail locations all in San Diego, CA with more stores on the horizon (our 4th location will open in late April 2018).

In 2017, BRCR was acquired by PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. of Topeka, Kansas co-owned by Jeff Taylor, now President of BRCR.

This acquisition was a relationship that started in friendship. In 2007, Jeff and Chuck met in Nicaragua, developed a fast friendship, and shared stories of buying coffee and traveling throughout Latin America and Africa. Jeff was always looking to grow his business outside of the Midwest. It was in the original meeting in Nicaragua that the two friends started dreaming of their ideal working relationship. The conversations started to take a serendipitous turn in 2016. Chuck wanted to transition out of the day-to-day operations of running a business, but wanted to continue to travel in search of the world’s greatest coffee; conversely, Jeff wanted to travel less often since he and his wife Maritza were starting a family, and they loved the idea of settling in San Diego. Because of Jeff’s extensive business partnerships in the U.S. and internationally, he was able to not only acquire BRCR and sustain Chuck’s important position in the company, but to bring his vision of expansion to fruition on both the retail and wholesale side, as well as to merge the international coffee producer relationships from PTs Coffee Roasting Co.

Today, this quality team of coffee professionals is still building steam.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t know about a “smooth” road. But I know it’s the only road we’ve traveled, so it is uniquely ours. I think probably most of our challenges were related to scaling our business up. Whether determining how much coffee to buy (not buying too much or too little) or identifying the right producers to partner with for quality standard. All those decisions to be made while looking forward and learning from the past, while still living in the moment and managing day-to-day activities. You can’t look too far ahead, for fear of losing sight of the present. And you can’t get too caught up in the moment, or you forget to look and plan forward for growth! It’s a constant struggle. We love the challenge though. It keeps life and coffee interesting. I think I need another cup now!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Bird Rock Coffee Roasters – what should we know?
What sets us apart is our relationship with the growers. The green beans we seek all over the world meet our highest standards, and we roast and prepare this coffee with the utmost respect for those who grew it. We pay a premium to farmers based on the quality of the cup. Bird Rock Coffee Roasters pays farmers different rates based on the score given to the coffee upon evaluation. All BRCR pay rates are at least 50-100% over the Fair Trade contract price. We also promote a long-term mutually beneficial, sustainable relationship with our coffee producers. Bird Rock Coffee Roasters has worked with many farmers for 2-4 years. This helps establish consistency from year to year while helping the farmer move their product on a yearly basis. As long as the quality is there, they can depend on BRCR as a buyer.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
The best quality coffee imaginable.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

@comewecreate and @davidphotokc

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