What is this business for?
We roast, crush, pack and sell coffee. We buy our coffee beans from Legacy Farms in Honduras through direct trade, which means the farmers make more money and the workers make more money.
What was the impetus for opening this business?
Dan Becker said he wanted coffee in an 1800 reenactment. Each camp does a demonstration and the camp next to them showed how coffee is made by first roasting the beans in a pan in the oven. over an open fire. It was so good that he decided to learn how to roast his own coffee. He and Diana were having their coffee to work with them and soon colleagues wanted coffee too, so they decided to open their own coffee business.
What’s the best thing about being located in Wheatfield?
Since our sales are all online, location isn’t that important.
What’s the biggest challenge?
There really is no challenge
What is your busiest time of year?
As we just started in April we are not sure, but we hope the holidays will be busy.
What is the most popular thing you sell / the service you provide?
Coffee. Regular whole bean is our biggest seller, followed by our individual single serve coffee urns.
What less popular item / service would you recommend?
We have flavored coffees, 20 different flavors. Blueberries are the most popular, along with rum, banana nut bread, and now pumpkin spice.
What is the thing that you enjoy doing the most in your business?
Dan – “Roasted coffee! “
Diana helps pack, ship, flavor the beans, plan events to sell their coffee, including the Sandhill Crane Festival and the Francesville Fall Festival, both this weekend. Dan just likes to grill beans.
What’s the best thing about owning your own business?
“Do things on our own schedule. I’m not responding to anyone other than Diana, ”Dan said. “The biggest is the timing.” As an Indiana State Police Soldier, Dan worked midnight for many years, so he often goes to his workshop in the middle of the night to grill beans.
What’s the biggest downside?
The most important thing is to comply with FDA regulations. They have a son-in-law who works with the FDA and has been a great help in starting the business.
What’s the biggest misconception about your business?
People think we are rich. People want to know why we don’t have a storefront or cafe, and also, darker roasts don’t have more caffeine. Lighter roasts do.
When you retire, is there a family member who will take over for you?
Our son will probably pick it up, but we do when we retire. Diana retired this summer and Dan plans to retire from Indiana State Police, where he has worked for 27 years, and worked as a police officer in Cedar Lake before that. He was Chief of the Wheatfield Fire Department for many years and is now Deputy Chief.
How has your business evolved over time?
We started ordering beans through a broker. We belong to a Facebook group of roasters and saw an article on Legacy Farms. An American couple saw that the farm was for sale and decided to take the plunge and buy it. They taught farmers to grow crops other than beans so that they had food all year round, as well as livestock. They pay their employees more than other coffee farms and we liked that philosophy and people love coffee.
We produce to order; we do not store it. It has not changed and will not change. Coffee starts to lose flavor after seven days, so any coffee you buy at the store is probably at least six months old and has lost its flavor. This is why our fresh coffee is so attractive to our customers.
What advice would you give to someone considering starting a business?
Diana: Do your research and know everything you need to know about a business.
To roast the coffee, Dan uses a large roaster that runs on propane. It heats up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and places the beans in a round basket, then in the roaster. The beans turn during roasting, changing from a greenish color to the brown color we see in the store.
Then the beans start to burst, shedding an outer skin, which makes a good ground cover for the chickens, Dan said. They give the bags of coffee skins to a neighbor for his chickens, so nothing is wasted.
Once the roasting is complete, the beans are poured out of the roaster and into a basket where they continue to burst as they cool. Before they cool completely, an aroma is added, if necessary. Then, they are placed in plastic containers to “degas” before being packaged whole or crushed and packaged.
They have joined the Specialty Coffee Association and plan to present their coffee to an international competition.