We had the good fortune of connecting with John Roll Jr and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi John, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
People have generally allowed coffee to become a necessary burden rather than something that can be a truly enjoyable part of their morning or mid-afternoon routine. Rather than accept that as realty, we sought to steer the mentality behind coffee towards that of a luxury, premium experience rather than mud in a mug.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Our business started as an idea. My father and I were at a casual breakfast diner one day, eating a good meal, but sipping unsatisfactory coffee. I had mentioned the idea of starting a coffee roasting company, as he’d worked professionally as a chef for thirty-five years before retiring and had been roasting coffee for thirty of those thirty-five years. We decided immediately that we absolutely could not be like competition; we had to keep ourselves a step above in as many ways as possible. That meant creating a roast-to-order model, which has been a key to our success. Rather than roast in advance, allowing coffee to go stale, we roast only to order. That guarantees the freshest coffee possible, further separating us from other roasters. We then had to get inventive. What was a niche that we could hook into or create that would gather attention? Our answer came about a year into business: smoke. Coffee was roasted over a wood fire when it first became popular, which obviously isn’t the case today, but what if we could put the smokiness back into it without creating a harsh cup? With a great deal of R&D, we found a way to do just that. Almost the moment our 17th Century Style smoked coffee went live, there was renewed vigor in our store. We won’t lie, there were times and still are times where it gets tough. Bills come, emergencies happen, and it gets tiring when the lines between on and off the clock blur, but through our friends, our determination, and most importantly, our faith, we’ve found a way to keep on going. All in all, we’re just three guys who love coffee and want to see it go even further than it has. We’re trying to make a living, not a killing, and we hope that folks out there take the time to enjoy even the little cups of coffee they have in their lives.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Personally, I’m a sucker for nature. We’ve got some absolutely gorgeous spots in the Tucson area for hiking, backpacking, and seeing the stars at night. I’m quite partial to Romero Pools, a moderate hike leading to a series of mountain-water pools at the summit. The sound of the water running, the crispness of the air, the actual freshness of the water (once filtered of course) is second to none. On the other hand, a favorite restaurant to go is Pinnacle Peak. The restaurant itself has great food all around, but the concept is that of a town from the Old Pueblo. Things from a general goods store, a mini train for the kids, and even a cowboy show can be found at this single location.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We truly want to thank our myriads of friends, which are more brothers and sisters, for giving us the encouraging to keep our heads up when the going gets tough. Without their support and self-sacrificing love, I’m not sure where we’d be.
Chloe Stanton Photography