A community of coffee people / by Bryan Hibbard

Today I want to write about what it is like to be a part of a community. Specifically a community of coffee professionals. From the beginning, I have been welcomed into the world of specialty coffee with open arms. Even though the third wave of American coffee has been going strong for more than a decade, the sentiment is still "the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few." This is especially true here in the Houston area where 3rd wave coffee is still a rather new concept, and even more true in the suburbs, where it is almost non-existent. 

The picture above is of my coffee roaster. Yes, I am a big fan of Boomtown Coffee, but no I did not put that sticker there. It came with the machine, when I purchased it from Matt Toomey (the owner of Boomtown). And I left it there to remind me of the provenance of this fine piece of American manufacturing. Matt bought this machine from the guys who started Amaya Roasting Company. So the machine has now been in the hands of three successful Houston roasters. Matt gave me a great deal on the roaster when he was ready to upgrade his operation, and I plan to do the same for another aspiring roasting company when I am ready for a bigger machine.

Beyond that, I have been treated as an equal among roasters who have far more experience, and are roasting a ton more coffee per week. I often feel I don't deserve that honor, but I am grateful to be a part of the club. With a common passion, we find it hard to be enemies, even though good business practices say we should protect our turf. And so, instead of just having the goal of seeing Fort Bend Coffee Roasters succeed, I also have the larger goal of seeing the coffee scene in Houston succeed, and each coffeeshop and roastery is a part of that goal.

So here a short list of my fellow roaster/cafes in Houston, if you love my coffee, I know you will also love theirs. These are all shops (like Blockhouse) that are either owned by, or deeply connected to their roasting partner.

Boomtown Coffee: 242 W. 19th St., Houston, TX 77008 (Roaster: Boomtown Coffee Roasters).
The Honeymoon: 300 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002 (Roaster: Boomtown Coffee Roasters).
Catalina Coffee: 2201 Washington Ave., Houston, TX 77007 (Roaster: Amaya Roasting Company).
Southside Espresso: 904-C Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77006 (Roaster: Fusion Beans).
Blacksmith: 1018 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77006 (Roaster: Greenway Coffee Company).
Pearland Coffee Roasters: 4106 Broadway St., Pearland, TX 77581 (Roaster: Pearland Coffee Roasters).

 There are plenty of other great shops that could go on this list. But these are my favorites. If you havn't been, next time you are in the city stop by one of these great shops.