For as long as I can remember I've wanted to open up a business downtown. Downtown Ruston to be exact. And for as long as I can remember, here this building has sat, vacant, staring at me as I drive by every day. Every week. Every month. It's kinda like that girl who was just your friend. You would never be more than friends. It would be weird to date her. You know each other so well. You see each other every day. But then you kiss, and it's like you can't imagine life without her. So it is with Railway Coffee and this old brick building at 202 W. Mississippi in the heart of Downtown Ruston, Louisiana. The old Bailey Jewelry building. Built in 1950. Vacant since? Over the next few months we will pour our blood, sweat, and tears into this beauty to restore her back to her full grace and transform her into the new home of Railway Coffee. (Don't worry, we'll be sure to wipe up the blood, sweat, and tears before you come by.) We are so excited to begin this next chapter in the life of our roasting adventure. We can't wait to meet you all and serve you for years to come.
If you're familiar with Railway Coffee already, you know we started as a husband-and-wife team roasting out of our home and eventually moved into our commercial roasting facility. If you're not familiar with Railway, then this is a clean starting point anyway! Over the last year we generated such great momentum that we caught the attention of two very curious people. One is an avid coffee drinker/nerd and the other is intrigued by startups. And they happen to be father and son. After several months of conversations and negotiations they officially joined Railway Coffee as partners.
Let me formally introduce Howard Whitlock and Dustin Whitlock. You can see their faces here. You will see them around at our events, at the roastery, or going about their daily jaunts in the community. Tell them Hi! Ask for autographs. Ask for coffee samples. Welcome them to the wonderful world of specialty coffee.
The addition of new bodies brings about new ideas with potential for new (fun) things. Stay tuned...
What's so special about "specialty coffee"? What is specialty coffee exactly? Why is it so important that coffee is locally roasted?
These are questions we get most often when talking about our company to potential customers. We've discovered there are many misconceptions about coffee, and that more often than not there's confusion about what "good" coffee is and where it can be bought.
At Railway Coffee, we define specialty coffee by three main components: the quality of the coffee beans, the care and finesse with which they're roasted, and the resulting flavor and freshness of each batch. The standard we set for our coffee is a high one, and in order to meet it we give detailed attention to each of these three areas. Here's how.
We begin by selecting and sourcing high quality coffee beans. To do this we seek out coffee farmers who take careful ownership in growing and harvesting their beans. We know that by purchasing from these farmers, the beans will have been nurtured and harvested with skill. We want our coffee to be memorable, not just good. And the farmers we partner with have that same goal. An additional perk? Coffee producing countries are some of the poorest in the world, and by purchasing our coffee you're directly impacting these farmers and their families.
Secondly, we concentrate on roasting each batch of coffee to ensure consistent roast level and to highlight and extract the bean's natural flavor. We're a small batch micro roaster, which means we start small and stay small throughout the roasting process. We tailor to your tastes and wants while maintaining the integrity of the beans. Our goal is careful manipulation to coax out hidden gems of particular flavor tones, ones that makes you say, "now that was a good cup of coffee." Flavors that make brewing your first cup your first thought each morning. Flavors that make you want more, again and again. And when we're done, we start the process over with the same passion and attention as before. Each batch, each bag, every time.
Finally, specialty coffee that's locally roasted promises freshness. The fresh coffee smell that wafts up each time a bag is opened? That's the freshness of coffee being released into air with each passing minute after roasting. Coffee beans begin emitting gas immediately after the roasting process. The more time that passes, the more gas is emitted, and after a period of about 10 days coffee is stale. Think about the time it takes for large, corporate companies to roast, grind, bag, ship, unload, and stock coffee at grocery stores. The coffee then goes into a shopping cart several days after it was shelved to be brewed the following morning. That's a large amount of time to have passed, and this is what allows coffee to grow flat and flavor to be lost. However, by purchasing coffee from a local roaster, you're getting coffee to your home and poured into your cup within a day or two after roasting. That's fresh.
Our coffee is an investment on all sides and in all parts, from the farmers with whom we partner, to us the roasters, to you the consumers. It's detailed. It's a craft. It's a lifestyle. And it's one we're proud of. When you buy from Railway Coffee, you can be assured your coffee is the best coffee you've ever purchased, every time. Full steam ahead.