It's just a coffee tree / by Bryan Hibbard

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So, you are probably going to see a lot more photos like this. I am super excited about a bunch of white flowers. This is a coffee tree (Arabica) and this is the first year it has flowered. If we are lucky, we will get some harvestable coffee cherries and I will be able to harvest, process and roast a very local cup of coffee. It's a coffee tree, but it's a lot more than that.

You hear a lot about my life (Bryan) and my exploits in this company, but in fact Fort Bend Coffee Roasters is a partnership. My partner is none other than my wife, Abby. She has largely worked in the background, supporting me and making sure we present a coherent and artistic image. She also keeps me in line when I come up with ideas that are a little too crazy. I am the visionary, she is the realist. And its a good thing we have each other. Abby has sacrificed much for this company. She has spent countless Saturdays with our kids so that I could bring coffee to the Sugar Land farmers market. She picked up the slack in the early years when I maintained a full time job along with the roasting business. We have done without while we have waited for our business income to take off. And she has stayed home with our kids and done whatever odd jobs were needed so that she could be with our kids before they reached school age.

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Along the way, Abby has gotten the opportunity to sell coffee with me, learn how to make an awesome espresso, get a crash course in marketing, finance, customer service, branding, and all the other free lessons this business has given us. She can talk with the best of them about roasting, brewing, coffee growing, harvesting, processing, and the business in general. Abby's favorite origin is Guatemala, and I make sure we always have at least one lot from that origin in our lineup.

Abby has worked in the background while I have gotten all the glory as the head roaster. I want to let you in on a little dream we have for our future. When Abby and I were engaged and planning our future, we had this rather frivolous dream of opening a coffee shop together when we retired. As the roasting business grows and becomes more self sufficient, we hope to expand with a coffee shop attached to our roastery. That will involve a move to a location that is not in the middle of nowhere, and a lot of capital. I'll keep my focus on the roasting side. But, our plan is for Abby to take center stage in the coffee shop; training and guiding our baristas in producing the best coffee we know how to make. We love all of our wholesale partners, but we still want the chance to share our own voice in coffee. I've been doing this long enough to make no promises on timing, but we hope to get this into motion once our youngest is in kindergarten (about 2 years from now). If this sounds like something you want to see happen, just keep buying our coffee and singing our praises to your friends and family.

We were so young!

We were so young!

So, about that coffee tree, you are probably wondering why it is so important to me. Abby gave me a tiny coffee seedling as a gift for our second anniversary, before I was even a home coffee roaster. I kept it in my office in Colorado and it moved with us to Texas. All along, I have seen it as a symbol of our relationship. Hence, I have tried really hard to keep it alive! In June, Abby and I will celebrate our 9th anniversary. And just like our love, the tree has grown (imperfectly, mind you) and has become more beautiful. I hope to see this simple coffee tree continue to grow and flourish and, in a few years, sit in a sunny window in our new coffee shop!