For this edition of Roaster Realm, we take you to Amarillo, Texas, the home of Evocation Coffee Roasters.
One of the THRIVE’s partners from the beginning, Evocation is committed to changing the way you experience coffee and understands their importance in the chain. Roman and Amy personifies the definition of passion in the cup, see for yourself. Instead of going on and on, learn more of their humble beginnings and dedication to their craft in this short video and read our conversation with Roman Leal below.
Tell us about how you got started in the coffee world.
I was working at a second-rate coffee shop and thought to myself, “the people of this town deserve better coffee”. Amy and I invested in a small, half-pound, electric roaster and started honing our skills. We eventually upgraded to our current machine, a Diedrich IR-7 and never looked back.
Share with us the biggest challenge your business faces?
Breaking into a market that was saturated with extremely darkly roasted coffee was difficult for a while. Convincing people who haven’t yet tasted the coffee that it was worth its price tag is always a challenge, too, but it gets easier and easier as people have started to refer their friends and are hearing our name around town.
What sets Evocation Coffee apart from other roasters and coffee houses?
Our passion. I know it’s kind of cliché at this point, but coffee is an incredibly nuanced product and if the person who is making your coffee isn’t excited about what they’re doing, chances are they’re probably not making it the best it can be.
How does connecting the farmer with your customers impact your business?
It’s so powerful. This year, we were able to send three talented baristas to competitions who personally knew the person that grew the coffee they were using. Customers are in awe when you casually tell them that you just had a Skype conversation with the farmer who grew the coffee that they’re about to drink. It also lends unquestionable legitimacy to our guidelines for ethical coffee sourcing.
What is your favorite origin of coffee?
Sorry, that’s like asking which of my children I love most. If we weren’t absolutely crazy about the coffee, we wouldn’t have it on our offering list.
Share the love…is there someone in the industry that is doing it right? Packaging? Roasting? Sourcing?
Thrive Farmers, obviously. In particular, Ken Lander and Rob Tuttle have been deep fonts of coffee knowledge. Also, Greenway Coffee in Houston, Cultivar Coffee in Dallas, AJ Coffee of Dallas and the up-and-coming Noblesse Coffee of Lubbock. What’s really cool about the coffee culture in Texas is that nobody is out to get each other. We’re kind of all brothers in arms because of our shared mission of moving coffee forward in our region.