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Meet Taylor Fields of Nostalgia Coffee Roasters

Today we’d like to introduce you to Taylor Fields.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in Albuquerque New Mexico & eventually moved to Chicago when I was 18 to attend DePaul University. While at DePaul, I earned my degree in accounting and finance which in part, pushed me towards my evolving love for coffee. At first, I saw coffee as simply a way to stay awake for my long study sessions and a means to stay warm from the bitter Chicago winters. Over time, this necessity for coffee grew into a fascination for its craft.

I began brewing coffee at my apartment, reading books and learning as much as possible about coffee. Though, it wasn’t until I moved down the street from Intelligentsia Coffee my last few years in Chicago where I began to see coffee as more than just a drink. I would spend 8+ hours a day at Intelligentsia studying for the CPA exam and I began to notice how this coffee shop brought so many people from the neighborhood together. There were people studying, meeting for the first time, working, connecting with family, chatting with friends and having in-depth conversations with the baristas. It was more than a coffee shop, it was a micro-economy, a social melting pot & a public living room all connected by coffee. I also grew fascinated by watching the baristas and how much they cared about the coffee. It was an art & a science, and they were amazing at both. They controlled the weight, the water temperature, the pouring rate and seemed to flawlessly put a beautiful heart on each and every latte they served. But more than that, they also loved to educate people on the Seed to Cup process. They ensured the coffee was sourced properly, that the coffee was processed correctly, and the coffee was roasted & brewed to perfection. The community, art, science and Seed to Cup aspects all pushed me towards an eventual career in coffee.

After graduating from DePaul, I moved to San Diego, became a licensed CPA and started a career in audit at one of the largest accounting firms in the world. However, my love for coffee was only getting stronger during this time. During our audits and while sitting in a conference room with my coworkers, I would brew coffee for the group including some CFO’s & CEO’s of the companies we were auditing. I would bring a scale, a Chemex, coffee beans, a grinder & a kettle. I would hold impromptu coffee seminars and we would discuss many different aspects of coffee including the brewing process, where it came from, tasting notes, etc. It was a great way to take a break and connect with my coworkers though it was becoming clear that I was much more passionate about coffee as opposed to audit. Because my audit experience exposed me to numerous entrepreneurs who successfully started businesses, I began to consider that I too could follow my passion and turn it into a business.

In 2017, I began putting the plans together for a mobile coffee shop. At the same time, I was also lucky to connect with the owners of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, Maritza & Jeff, who both helped with my initial plans and honing in my coffee craft. They have been awesome mentors and a couple I really look up to and strive to become. I eventually went to New York City for a week in which I did technical training for coffee via the Specialty Coffee Association Barista Training Program. In September of 2018 we finally opened after a full year of planning, designing the shop, getting approval from the health department, & eventually building Nostalgias home in a 10-foot trailer. It has been one heck of a ride, but I have never been happier in my entire life then I am today.

Has it been a smooth road?
As with all things in life, it was certainly not a smooth road to opening our coffee shop. One of the most difficult aspects of building the shop was getting approval from the Health Department for our building plans. Since we did not hire a company to build the shop for us, we had to navigate and work directly with the Health Department in order to get the appropriate plan approvals. This required weeks on end reading the building code literature and designing our shop accordingly.

We also did not have any other mobile coffee shops we could use as examples since we were going to be the first fully specialized third wave coffee shop in a 10-foot trailer. We did not want to sacrifice any quality from what you would expect a full brick and mortar specialty coffee shop to have. This meant we had to design the trailer to handle a highly specialized Slayer Espresso machine, properly filtered water, an espresso grinder, a coffee grinder, a high output coffee brewer, numerous water pumps & water heaters, four separate water tanks and a fridge large enough to store 40+ gallons of milk! Of course, balancing this with the health department code & a 10-foot trailer created its challenges but with persistence and a clear vision, we eventually designed and built a third wave coffee shop on wheels!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Nostalgia Coffee Roasters – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Nostalgia Coffee Roasters is San Diego’s first fully mobile specialty coffee shop. Our emphasis is on sustainability, quality, and origin. We strive to deliver satisfaction & add value to the lives and livelihoods of all involved including from the farmers who grew the coffee all the way to our customers we get to share the coffee with.

Being in the specialty coffee business does not mean that we make extravagant drinks, add sugar to everything or make food. To the contrary– we brew coffee according to the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) standards. This means that our menu is simple & has proper sizes for each traditional beverage (4oz macchiatos, 6oz cappuccinos, 12oz lattes).

We take coffee seriously. Along with our roasting partner (a staple of San Diego coffee culture), Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, we provide only ethically sourced, sustainably grown and impeccably brewed coffee. We are really proud of the fact that when you drink a cup of coffee brewed by us, you can feel good about your drink. From Seed to Cup, we ensure the entire chain in the coffee industry is treated fair, with respect and is appreciated.

What certainly sets us apart is how we view coffee. Coffee to us is more than a caffeine boost. It is a way of life, a culture & something to be enjoyed. In a time in which the world has never seemed more divided, coffee has the power to connect us. It is over a cup of coffee that inventions are created, social change is started, study groups flourish, foreign leaders meet, conversations are sparked, and cultures are connected. Coffee transcends class, age, race and ethnicity, gender & cultures. It is for those reasons that we are in the coffee industry and proud of every single cup we brew.

We also differentiate ourselves by paying the utmost attention to detail & quality in every cup we make. Besides the quality of the coffee beans we use which are processed, sourced, roasted and brewed to perfection, we also pay equal amounts of attention to the quality of the water and milk we use for our drinks. We know a cup of coffee is made up of ~98% water, as such, we go through great lengths to ensure our water is perfect for each cup. We start by using ultra-purified water via Reverse Osmosis (RO) and then carefully mix back in the exact minerals that are required to make coffee taste its best. We measure our mineral count daily using a Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Meter to ensure we have consistent mineral counts in our water from day-to-day.

Additionally, for all of our espresso-based drinks, we use only the highest quality dairy and non-dairy options. For our whole milk, we use lightly homogenized organic Northern California milk produced by the wonderful people & cows of Straus Family Creamery. The coastal cows graze on sweet grasses in Marin and Sonoma Counties in Northern California which contributes to the remarkably creamy and sweet taste of our lattes. The milk starts off as premium organic cream top milk that is then lightly homogenized to maintain taste and long-lasting foam allowing our baristas to make fun latte art on each cup. The milk complements our espresso in a perfect manner and adds an unmistakable creamy sensation to each drink.

We balance this attention to detail with our love for making genuine connections with each and every one of our customers. We love taking the extra few seconds to ask every one of our customers how their day is going and to always offer a recommendation or explanation for their daily coffee. We also really enjoy sharing as much information about coffee as we can with our customers. Knowledge is power, and this is no different with coffee. When people know where their coffee came from, they can make well-educated decisions when purchasing coffee in the future. This knowledge has real & positive impacts on all the people’s lives who are involved in coffee.

What role has luck (good luck or bad luck) played in your life and business?
Luck certainly played a role in the fate of our business. Perhaps the biggest break we got was during our first week open in September of 2018. We had a difficult time getting locations to agree to have our coffee shop on sight as we were a new mobile shop. However, we caught a big break when we received a call from the owners of San Diego Food Markets three days after we officially opened. It just so happened that the coffee provider scheduled for that Sunday’s Market at Lane Field Park was unable to attend that week. Due to our relationship with Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, & a bit of luck, we were recommended to the Market owners and were given the opportunity to work the Market that Sunday. Things went absolutely great that first Sunday and definitely changed the trajectory of our coffee shops future. We eventually landed a permanent spot at the Lane Field Park Market which also led to us becoming a permanent vendor at the Ruocco Park Market on Saturdays (an all-day specialty food market) on the San Diego Bay. A combination of luck, hard work, and relationships help set our coffee shop up for success from the very beginning.

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