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California North Portside Blog

Coast to Coast Roast. Discovering Organic Freshly Roasted Java with Stay Roasted.

Posted by Onur Aybar on

Often considered the number one drink in the world, the ultimate pick me up, focusing tool, one of the most popular first date experiences, the backdrop of thousands of conversations a minute, and the champion of quite moments of solitude, yes, we're talking about coffee. That vital beverage consumed by millions each day. It's been around for centuries, often without fanfare until now. We'd like to introduce you to a start up that is changing the prosaic nature of coffee by introducing subscribers coast to coast, novice or expert, to freshly roasted, small batch, organic coffee each month.

In 2014, Andrew Vaught finally reached his breaking point. Frustrated with being unable to find fresh, organic, great tasting coffee, he set out to solve that problem-to make great coffee available to anyone, anywhere. He founded Stay Roasted ( stayroasted.com), a subscription service partnering with unique roasters coast to coast to deliver fresh, organic coffee directly to customers. He joined us to discuss his vision, the benefits of organic coffee, where the future lays for small batch fresh roasts, and how to enjoy your own coffee at home.

What led to the founding of Stay Roasted, was there an "ah ha" moment or was it simply a pure love for coffee?

I got frustrated with the process of searching for and buying great coffee. There had to be an easier way to discover new coffees while also getting them super fresh. This process is even more difficult with specialty organic coffees, so I thought if we can figure that one out, we may be on to something special. 

What makes Stay Roasted unique amongst other services, what is your unique value proposition to the customer?

Our goal is to stand out in three distinct ways, freshness, variety and convenience.

Freshness. We ship roaster-direct, so no one touches the beans except for the roaster and the subscriber. And since our plans refill every other week, subscribers never even come close to brewing coffee beans that are not at their absolute peak freshness.

Variety. Our partner roasters curate all shipments with in-season, organic, single origin beans that they're excited about sharing. Then to mix things up even more, we rotate the roaster-subscriber assignments after each delivery so you're always sampling different roasters.

Convenience. Coming home to a mailbox filled with freshly roasted coffee right as the previous shipment has run dry is pretty convenient, we must admit! In addition to that, we wanted the subscription process to be the most fair and flexible out there. Our plans are billed bi-weekly instead of monthly, so your hard earned money stays with you, not us. Also, pausing your subscription or upgrading and downgrading the shipment amount is easily done in just a few clicks on our website.

The diverse selection of partner roasters at Stay Roasted is very exciting, what is your process for curating your selection? Is it personal taste, sampling, customer demand?

All of these things, but at the end of the day we have to share the same philosophy on simplicity, quality, and great customer service.

"Getting the freshest, most interesting organic coffee beans we can find right to our subscribers' doorsteps is our collective mission."

What is your preferred method of brewing coffee, chemex, french press, auto drip...? Any recommendations for less experienced coffee drinkers? Any recommendations for more experienced coffee drinkers?

I like them all, but a light to medium roast Ethiopian on the Chemex is probably my favorite.

For those just getting into coffee, buy fresh beans and grind them yourself right before you brew. Even the lousiest $5 blade grinder is better than buying pre-ground coffee. As you become more of an enthusiast, invest in a scale to get your coffee to water proportions precise and start using a timer to get just the right extraction.

My advice to more experienced coffee drinkers is to not let perfect get in the way of good. At the end of the day, it’s just coffee - don’t become a snob about it.

And we have to ask, how many cups a day do you drink? Is there a current record for most cups consumed individually or as a team at Stay Roasted?

On a normal day it's just two. Sleep is way too important to mess around with. That being said, sometimes it just tastes so good you can't stop brewing!

As consumers, we're hearing the word organic more and more, but mostly in relation to foods. When shopping for coffee, not so much. What are the benefits of organic coffee, why is it important to make the switch?

Organic certification for growers means that the coffee was grown without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers which some sources say can remain with the coffee and be ingested when you drink it. Organic certification for roasters means that their facility, sourcing, and operations are deemed organic by a third-party certifying body.

Is it important to switch? It depends on the extent to which you believe or care that your coffee drinking may be negatively effecting your health or the environment. I say go out there and do your research and experiment with different coffees.

Just like with food, the best way to accelerate this trend toward organic is just to make and distribute the absolute best organic coffee products that you can, in the freshest way possible, and at the same price as the non-organic alternative. Then it becomes a zerocost decision for consumers - meaning that they don’t have to sacrifice flavor, quality, or pay more to choose organic. Easier said than done, I suppose.

What are Fair Trade practices, how do they help coffee farmers?

For coffee and other goods like tea and chocolate, the fair trade designation has its share of controversy. However, the spirit of the movement is to make sure that farmers are getting a fair price for the goods being purchased from them. This helps them take care of the land and their families, and ultimately produce a better product.

Coffee lovers have been hearing a great deal about Single Origin Coffee lately, what exactly does single origin entail?

Single origin simply means that the coffee was grown in one particular place - a town, a farm, or even a single lot on a farm and they are not blended with other beans. What makes them so much fun to drink is that you can more easily distinguish their flavor characteristics much in the same way as you can with wine from different regions.

In the past five years we’ve seen artisan coffee gain popularity similar to the scale that craft breweries have grown, what do you see as the future of the roasting and delivery business? Do you see more and more direct to consumer business in the future versus supermarket shopping?

I love that so many people are getting into the business and really trying to take coffee roasting to the next level here in the US. When I go out west to visit family, everyone’s going straight to the brewery to sample and buy craft beer. So I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the same trend is happening with coffee and that the direct to consumer model is here to stay.

How do you see Stay Roasted evolving over time?

We are crazy busy behind the scenes working on the next iteration of our service, so you’ll have to check back in with us very soon for the details!

What advice would you give to any coffee beginners in refining their tastes and generally learning about coffee?

Try lots of different varieties and have fun with it. Brew up a batch, taste it, and then try to pick out the individual flavors. Compare what you’re tasting to the tasting notes on the bag of coffee and see how close you get.

Thanks so much for joining us and we're excited to see Stay Roasted continue to grow. Any closing thoughts you'd like to share?

We're debating a third cup...

Me too!

Stay Roasted

Subscription-based direct delivery of unique, freshly roasted, organic coffee.