The two-person operation at Custom Cup Coffee in Springfield, Illinois, started after a successful DIY YouTube video and Christmas gift exchange. Co-owners Brent and Kendra Boesdorfer roasted their first green coffee beans in an old-school popcorn machine in October 2013, and once the smoke cleared, they haven’t looked back.
Family members received the first iterations of Custom Cup roasted beans that Christmas, talks then began with the health department the next month, beans were sold at Springfield’s Old Capitol Farmers’ Market after that and in November 2014, their 300-square-foot retail and coffee shop opened. Custom Cup currently sells three flavorful customizable roasts in its shop and online at customcupcoffee.com.
Brent Boesdorfer talked to us about the company's rapid success.
What was the process behind opening Custom Cup? From January 2014 to November, we were roasting beans at a local catering company’s kitchen when it sat empty at night. We were really focused on just being a roaster and then opening a shop five years down the line. But we found the perfect property, so we thought we might as well take a shot at having a storefront, too.
Tell us about your roasts. We want to offer coffee to people’s tastes – not to what I think is good or right. We do one-off roasts within 48 hours after a customer orders it and will deliver it free to your door if you live in Springfield. We have a light roast where you can really taste all of the different flavors of the coffee because it’s not covered by a heavy roast.
People saw light [roasted beans] as kind of weak and flavorless when in reality it’s the exact opposite – if you start with good coffee. Medium roast is right in the middle of the road where you’re still getting a lot of that flavor, but it’s not quite as acidic, and you start to get a little more sweetness. There is a literal “sweet spot” that you can hit where the inherent sweetness in the coffee comes out. A lot of people who normally take sugar [with their coffee] start not using it with our beans. Then for the dark roast, you lose a lot of the individual flavor of the coffee and just get a general dark roast overtone.
How much of your job is educating customers? When we first started out in retail, dark roasts would fly off the shelves. Through education, that has flip-flopped and we can’t keep light on the shelves. Where do you source beans? For most of our roasts, our supplier is the only one between us and the farmers. The shipments come from all over the world within the coffee belt, which is 30 degrees north or south of the equator: Indonesia, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Rwanda and more. We recently added our first coffee sourced directly from a farm, a Castillo from the Huila region of Colombia. We see ourselves slowly migrating to this farm-to-roaster model.
Custom Cup Coffee, 321 East Monroe St., Springfield, Illinois, 217.652.6154, customcupcoffee.com
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