Last time around, I chatted with Randy Lint of Big Creek Coffee Roasters, who shared the similarities and differences between law, music and coffee. This week, I chatted with Bobby Grover, owner of Bend, Oregon’s Thump Coffee.
Thump began in 2007 as a wholesale roaster called 11 Roasters Coffee. Since Grover had been involved with another larger coffee company prior to opening 11 Roasters, a non-compete clause kept him out of the retail side of things initially, but when it expired he embraced the front end of the business, and purchased a café in downtown Bend, which became Thump.
CC: Where does the name Thump come from?
Thump is the universal sound of hard work (from a portafilter hitting the knock box, to a hammer hitting a nail, to the sound of skis landing on the slopes). We believe in going the extra mile on everything from customer service to product. Why? Because it is the right thing to do and you can taste that. Success takes hard work, whether climbing a mountain or running a business.
CC: On your website, you contend that a cup of coffee can be life-changing. How so?
I have asked this question to everyone I have ever interviewed for a job. I believe you can find out quite a bit about someone in their answer. Some people are cynical about it…but when a possible employee can see the bigger picture, that means they care. You cannot teach that.
I know the answer to my question is “yes.” Coffee is a part of many people’s day, every day. To start your day with an amazing cup of coffee and a welcome smile goes really far. And isn’t life just an accumulation of moments?
CC: Bend is your hometown, but you’ve also opened a café in Denver. How do the two cities compare?
Denver is like Bend’s much bigger brother. Both cities lie at the foothills of the mountains. People there are active in the outdoors lifestyle, cycling, skiing, fishing, hiking and camping. That is what Thump is about. We are passionate about the outdoors. It just seemed like a perfect fit.
[At the coffee level,] Bend’s water is a lot more consistent than Denver’s. Bend’s stays about three grains hardness. Denver water can fluctuate depending on the source, from six to 12 grains hardness, which really matters in extraction. Other than a few hiccups and geological differences though, it has been awesome!
CC: Tell me about the public coffee cuppings at your roastery.
The Roastery was created so that people could see behind the curtain. They are able to see how many samples we go through just to find one coffee. They are able to see how many roasts and recipes we go through just to find the way we are going to serve the coffee. They can also try all the coffees and choose their own to take with them, wherever they are from. At the Roastery, we are able to take the time to educate people on our process.
CC: Adventure is a big part of your brand. How does coffee fit with adventure?
I guess a question back to you is how doesn’t coffee fit with adventure! Coffee is such a part of our life that we plan around it. It just seems to be the start of our day from fly fishing to bike riding. Plus, think about the journey of coffee. It is more traveled than most people. Starts out in the high mountain lands surrounding the parallels ten degrees north and south of the equator, then it travels all over to different parts of the world to be served. Finding coffee and roasting it to perfection is adventure itself.