We’re Russell and Alisha Volz from Coeur d’Alene Idaho. And if you can’t pronounce “Coeur d’Alene” don’t worry, 20 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. To this day, Mark and I are still talking 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 100 years ago
Like 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, 100 years ago, everyone roasted their own coffee, low-n-slow over an open fire, to a medium brown color. Then they brewed the fresh roasted coffee within a week. If the roasted coffee was over a week old, they’d toss it out, because it started to go stale. 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.
So, here’s the billion dollar question. If coffee 100 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?
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 make 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 50 years too late.”
So, 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.
That’s pretty much it. And as they say, “That’s All Folks”.