Before Matt started selling coffee online, he was a home roaster. He would typically buy coffee each month and buy enough of each varietal to roast it 3 or 4 times before moving on. Part of the fun was learning about new coffees and figuring out what roast profile he liked for each country or process. He developed a skill and had fun doing it. So much so that he started selling coffee to friends and family. That lead to starting Sagebrush Coffee!
However, we started to hear complaints because we continued the practice of changing out our inventory on a regular basis. The dilemma became: how do we pick the right coffees for the right amount of time that will allow customers to experience a consistent favorite and when do we change it up by offering new, amazing coffees? Since coffee comes from a crop with specific seasons and varied environmental changes, the beans cannot be the same with each new harvest. Different flavor profiles can be produced from the same bean even grown at the same farm. So, how do we go about handling the inconsistencies of coffee?
First, Sagebrush changed to a direct trade supplier to get more consistency in our offerings, and quite frankly, the coffee was way better. Another approach to handling coffee seasonality is by offering blends. We tried that with our 985 Blend, but recently discontinued it because we felt it was difficult to maintain the quality and flavor profile that was expected. That ended up not being the solution for us. The second approach that actually worked for us was looking at a specific coffee region and specific process and picking coffees that match the flavor notes we loved and attracted our customers. That has been the best way for us to achieve similar coffees year after year. Our continued trend of Guatemalan Gold Labels is the perfect example of this.
The most significant solution is to recognize that change is not a problem and embrace the fact that coffee evolves year after year. It is important to note what you love about a coffee and then try to buy coffee that matches those flavor preferences. Part of the fun it trying different coffees and noting what you like and don't like. That is essentially what we do with each cupping session. Our ultimate goal is to display the hard work that happens at origin and to find the best coffee we can find at a broad spectrum of flavor profiles.
Those were the primary changes that caused Sagebrush Coffee to grow beyond anything we dreamt it would. We are having a blast with this, and we still get to roast coffee the way we used to. At least a couple of times a month, we will get a bunch of samples in and roast them and pick a fantastic new coffee. In the last few months, we have found exceptional coffees, and our selection of Gold and Black Labels has increased immensely. These new and improved offerings are what keeps Sagebrush Coffee exciting to us. That, and helping people find their favorite coffee ever. When you find a new coffee that you enjoy, we encourage you to buy it over and over again. But, embrace the fact that it may not be here tomorrow and that there is always another great coffee to love!