Hello, we're Russell and Alisha Volz. Our Lake City Coffee story starts in our home town of Coeur d'Alene Idaho. If you can't pronounce "Coeur d'Alene" don't worry, 30 years ago we couldn't either. You can just thank the French traders for the name.
We haven't always been coffee roasters. Personally, for most of my life, I hated coffee; burnt and bitter, I just didn’t see the attraction. Then one day I was in the Perry District of Spokane Washington killing time. I stopped into The Shop, and for some odd reason, I purchased a cup of coffee. After just one sip, I was shocked. It was amazing!
Whole Bean Coffee
Looking behind the counter, I asked the proprietor, "Who roasted the coffee?" He said Anvil Coffee. Right then and there, I called Mark Camp, the owner of Anvil Coffee and master whole bean organic coffee roaster. Within 15 minutes, Mark and I were talking about roasting coffee. Mark took me under his wing and taught me nearly everything I know about roasting coffee.
At first, I roasted whole bean coffee just for me and my wife Alisha. Within months, I was roasting for a few friends, neighbors, and relatives. Eventually, I started roasting commercially. It was just a pound here and a pound there kind of thing, strictly word-of-mouth. To tell you the truth, I was mostly roasting for me. I became obsessed with roasting, brewing, and drinking coffee just like they did 150 years ago.
Coffee Like Great-Grandma Used To Make
I’m not talking about lattes, mochas, espresso, or any other foo-foo drink. My focus has alway been about roasting and at-home brewing old fashioned black coffee.
You see, 150 years ago, everyone roasted their own coffee at home, low-n-slow over an open fire, to a medium brown color. They never roasted more beans than what they could drink over the next 7 days. Talk about fresh roasted coffee?
By roasting and serving coffee this way, the coffee was incredibly smooth with subtle hints of chocolate, nut, and citrus; never bitter and never burnt.
Fresh Roasted Coffee vs. Industrial Coffee
So, here's the billion dollar question.
If coffee 150 years ago was super smooth and an absolutely delicious delicacy, then why the hell do all of the major coffee roasting players in America today serve up burnt and bitter coffee that Europeans wouldn’t feed to their pigs?
Take your pick of any large industrial coffee company and they all burn the snot out of their beans? Why? Because they think that's what you want. They're wrong.
Super Smooth Coffee
At this point, I still wasn’t sure where I wanted to take this business. I’ve always said that it takes the first year of a business to just figure out what you’re selling and to whom you’re selling it.
Thinking about our business, I knew that roughly 54% of Americans drink coffee daily. But when I finally heard that 2/3 of those coffee drinkers brew their own coffee, I immediately knew where I wanted to take this business.
We started out with the name "Capulus Roasters." But then one day I was speaking to Bob Fogal, Principal of KOOL1071 in Spokane about doing some radio advertising. Bob looked me straight in the eye and said, “Russell I love your coffee. We here at KOOL drink it every day. So, I see your coffee bag every day. Additionally, we’ve met a number of times to talk about your business. Yet, for the life me, I can’t tell you right now what your company name is. Your business name sucks.”
When I got home, Bob emailed me and said, “You won’t believe this, but LakeCityCoffee.com is available." So, I purchased the domain and my wife, Alisha, started our strategic business plan. She said, "I want everything we do to represent who we are. And if you think about it, we're throwbacks to an earlier generation; God, Family, Country. We were born 100 years too late."
From that realization, developing our website theme of the 1940’s Lake Scene; a throwback to a time when men and women were "real"; no BS, just straight scoop honest people and products.
That's what we do. We offer gently roasted, fresh, whole bean 100% natural coffee. You won't find "blends," fancy names, latte's, or other foo-foo drinks. You'll just find simple, super fresh, super smooth coffee just like grandma used to make.
What Is Real Old Fashion Customer Service
Our “Old Fashioned” service is not much different than what my Great-grandfather gave in his General Store on Grand Boulevard in Detroit Michigan in the late 1800’s. Then there was the old fashioned service my Grandfather gave in his Apothecary & Fountain Store in Detroit from the 1920's through the 1960’s,
Alisha’s family also has a long history of old fashioned service. Her grandfather owned one of the most prestigious Tailor Shops in Everett Washington from the 1950’s through the 1970’s. Then there's her great-great-great uncles who started Hills Brothers coffee roastery.
Back then, imagine walking into a shop, where the owner not only knows your name, but your spouse’s name, the name of your kids, and asks if your mare has dropped her foul yet or if Tomy's over his bout of flu yet.
That’s the kind of “Old Fashioned Service” that we aspire to, just like our ancestors gave.
The Fresher The Bean, The Better The Coffee
Alisha and I are dedicated to helping you to create the best home brewed coffee experience of your life. We'll provide the best Costa Rican beans that money can buy, roast them to perfection, ship them to you the same day, then teach you how to make the best cup of coffee that you're likely to find anywhere.
Our motto is: “From our roaster to your table in 24-72 hours”.
We pray that you enjoy drinking our coffee as much as we enjoy serving it to you.
Sincerely, Russell & Alisha Volz
UPDATE, Email Between Fred & Russell- January 31st 2022
Good Afternoon Russell,
My wife told me how awesome y'all were and how much help you were during her gifting process before Christmas So, the coffee was great, and I really look forward to this next batch!
BTW, I was wondering if y'all might be considering some merchandise options for those of us who like to further support our favorite businesses with personal gear and gifts? Thanks again, Fred
I’m thrilled that your wife hit a home run on your Christmas gift. As for Lake City Coffee Gear, nope. KISS is my motto. One bean and 4 roasts. That’s it, end of story. We do one thing and one thing only and that’s why we do it very well. I started this company as a part-time retirement gig, just for kicks-n-giggles.
Now I’ve created a monster. I went from 4 hours a week to nearly 40. It sucks being successful. Now I have employees, assets, and taxes; all stuff I swore I’d never have. But, where there’s demand, there’s also a platform for me to spread The Good News.
If folks want more options, I tell them to go check out Charbucks and if they can’t find Charbucks, I tell them to just search the internet using Screwgle.
Cranky But Happy Coffee Roaster
As you can see, I’m getting cranky in my old age. I don’t have time for stupid any more. I just hang with good folks, email with good folks, drinking good coffee, eat good food, and drink good wine.
Then there’s the grandkids. Bunch of rug-rats. They’re ok I suppose, but getting onto and off of the floor 50 times in the first hour and I’m pooped. I’m thinking about installing a garage door opener on the ceiling and when I get tired of the kids I’d just hit the remote and “up” they go. Now I’ll have to figure out some kind of automated duct tape dispenser to shut them up. Weird thing is, I wish they’d come over more often.
OK, there’s my long-winded answer to your short question.
God Bless & Stay Healthy.