Happy Birthday! Fort Bend Coffee Roasters / by Bryan Hibbard

It was one year ago today that I posted my first entry on this blog. Our first day at the Imperial Farmer's Market in Sugarland was Saturday, July 6, 2013. It is exciting to see how far we have come in one short year. I started with a simple idea, that freshly roasted coffee was better than older coffee. And that I, with my background in home roasting, could produce a coffee that was far better than what the big guys were roasting, because I would be getting it to my customers just a few days after roasting. And it turns out, I was right. Now, I am not saying I gave Folgers a run for their money, but I have gotten a steadily growing base of customers who keep coming back to my simple table at the farmer's market. For many of those customers, this was their first foray into the world of specialty coffee.

We started with 4 varieties; 3 single origins, and 1 blend. I now have 8 single origins, and 4 blends. When I started at the farmer's market, I had the idea that I would be roasting coffee to order at the market, and selling bags only. It was not long before people were begging me to offer cups of coffee too. So I switched to doing all my roasting at home and started up my pour-over bar. This has been the bread and butter of my business ever since. Most of my repeat bag customers first had my coffee as a hot, freshly brewed cup from my pour-over bar.

We are now moving into the next phase of Fort Bend Coffee Roasters, this involves expanding from our market table and selling coffee in more places, partnering with other small businesses in our area. The centerpiece will be our new roastery in Fulshear, which will be fully operational in a few weeks (buildout is taking longer than I initially thought, what a shock). Along with the Saturday Farmer's Market and our online store, our coffee is served at 3 restaurants, and our bags are sold at one boutique shop. Many more collaborations are in the works. Our hope is to find some like-minded entrepreneurs that we can partner with who want to open a coffee shop in our area in the next year. Fort Bend County has lots of places that serve coffee, but few shops that are purely focused on coffee quality. If that is you, be sure to talk to me.

I have so many people to thank for helping me get started. The coffee community is truly a welcoming place. We are all working towards the same goal of getting people off of bad tasting commodity grade coffee and into great specialty grade coffee that (for the most part) pays farmers a living wage and tastes amazing.

Kim Broom (and Keri Van Cantfort): Thanks for your huge support and encouragement at the farmer's market. You made it possible for our business to begin and to thrive. We love being a part of the market.

Scott Gilliland of Adventure Coffee Roasting: Scott runs a successful roasting company in Tucson, Arizona with a primary focus on farmer's markets. He has answered question after question for me and has given me solid advice on all aspects of running a roasting business. Best wishes for your continued success!

Matt Toomey of Boom Town Coffee: Thanks for your advice and encouragement and introduction to the Houston coffee scene. And thanks for the great deal on your old roaster. It will be well loved at FBCR.

Chris Campbell of Coffee Bean Junkie: He is our local "craft coffee evangelist" who writes a blog that follows the people behind the Houston coffee scene. He has generously donated his time on Saturday mornings and is the best darn volunteer barista I could ask for.

Don McCoy of the Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce: He has introduced me to the close-knit business community of Fulshear and has helped open doors for me in the community. Also, he is a great ideas guy.

My representatives at Walker Coffee and Interamerican Coffee. They have been great resources for understanding what is available to me here in Houston and have kept a constant stream of new samples coming my way.

My repeat customers at the market. You know who you are. Especially those who have been with me from the beginning. Thanks for supporting your local roaster and for allowing us to be your weekly coffee supplier.

My friends and family who have offered me emotional support, honest opinions, and help with the many things it takes to run a small roasting operation.

FBCR garage roasting 007.jpg

I am humbled by the generosity of our community and I am excited for our future as a company. Here's to year two of Fort Bend Coffee Roasters!