Like every story worth telling, it started as a romance.
It was 2002 when Don Niemyer walked into a coffee shop in Deep Ellum - the arts district of Dallas, Texas - and ordered a 12 once vanilla latte’. It was Halloween night, and the barista was a cute, saucy little thing named Carissa dressed up as a hippie. They didn’t know it that night, but it was the beginning of a love story that included coffee from the first second, and has had coffee as a central character ever since. It was the pursuit of great coffee (OK, an amazing place to live was part of it too) that drove them to Portland, OR, where they dove deep into coffee-land, owning three shops and humbly learning everything they could along the way from some of the best minds in coffee. It was a great journey, and one where they got to know some amazing people, including Brandon and Kelly Noffsinger, whose own love story had started a decade earlier with drinking white mochas and dreaming of opening a coffee shop someday.
Well, as love stories often do, this one had some adversity. The Noffsingers relocated to Colorado Springs to help care for an ailing family member, and the Niemyers were discovering that they were too far from their extended family as well. And it was in this moment that an idea was born: The Niemyers decided they would sell their shops and relocate to Colorado to be closer to family, But first, they would take some time to travel the nation, gathering up the best ideas in coffee to use in their next shop. To prepare for their trip, they bought a 2000 Volkswagen Rialta, and - with their two daughters - moved into its 100 square feet of living space, where they lived for over two more years on the streets of Portland while looking for a buyer for their remaining shop. It was a ton of fun, and although they didn’t know it at the time, they had accidentally become extreme minimalists and found a new community to be a part of: The Tiny House Movement. But more on that later….
So with their significant [accidental] skills developed in simple living, the Niemyers took off on their national tour. But the first stop was to rendezvous with the Noffsingers in Yellowstone Park, where they spent a week camping and marinating in the abundance of shared vision and dream casting. It was around that campfire in that beautiful, romantic setting, that they had the idea of becoming business partners. With Brandon’s technical savvy and roasting skills developed over the past several years in his garage; Kelly’s artistic abilities; Carissa’s golden palate established as a high level judge on the United States Barista Championship circuit; and Don’s experience as a practitioner, they reasoned that they had a pretty darn good team for a darn great coffee company. But first, there was some research yet to do…
The Noffsingers and their three children also decided to take some time to travel the nation in an RV of their own. On their respective journeys, both families sought out every notable coffee shop they could find, talking to anyone who would give them a minute, tasting some of the best coffees in the world, meeting some of the most interesting characters along the way, with the Niemyers writing about it for the Barista Magazine Blog, judging coffee competitions around the nation, and dreaming about what their next shop would be like. It was a glorious year, and one for which they were all especially grateful, aware that not everyone is afforded such a broad exposure to the national coffee scene. They continued to develop a growing sense that they had an opportunity - almost an obligation - to honor this experience by sharing these fascinating stories and these exquisite coffees. But what format would be appropriate? They wanted to do something elegant and worthy of these hard working producers and baristas, while keeping their values of simplicity and minimalism. It was quite a struggle to imagine how to pull that off. But here again, it was just like most stories. It was the struggle that produced the most fruit. And it was in this struggle where an idea was born:
We’ll put our new operation in a Tiny House.
You see, it is the Tiny House people who have gotten really good at living simply with elegance. Tiny Houses use traditional construction methods with solid materials of the highest quality, often sustainably sourced, that will last for decades. The structures themselves are fascinating and elegant, only really tiny! And because of their time spent living tiny, this was something the team was really good at. So it was decided: They would build what was to become - as far as they knew - the world’s first Tiny House Coffee Shop. And what would they call this unique operation that was born out of their fascination for these exquisite coffees and fascinating people they had discovered? Well, what else could they call something that was born to tell those stories? They would call it Story Coffee Company. And that is where the first chapter of our story for today comes to an end. But keep following along, because as our story unfolds you will see how it includes not only our story; not only the stories of the coffees and producers and cafe’s we represent. It also includes your story. Because we all live on this globe together, and all our stories are gloriously intertwined.
Every one of us has a story to tell. Thanks for being a part of ours. And thanks for letting us be a part of yours.