Do you want to get excited about coffee? Just spend some time with Matt and Erika Rydell, owners of Stache Coffee in Oceanside and you’ll be inspired to learn more about this beverage that so many people around the world enjoy each day.
Stache coffee was started in Matt’s garage and has been operating in a small warehouse space in Oceanside Industrial Park for the past two years. Growing up in Kauai, coffee was a big part of Matt’s culture. He will tell you that coffee fueled him through some of the busier times in his life, but his true love of coffee began shortly after leaving the United States to travel abroad. While on a trip to Indonesia, Matt met a Frenchman named J.P. DeGuine, who was traveling the world on bicycle. Matt found J.P. to be very inspirational, and a friendship ensued.
J.P.’s role in this was not done yet, as his bicycle travels brought him to the United States, specifically to Alaska and then down the Coast to Matt’s home in San Clemente, where he was able to give Matt some hands-on guidance in roasting.
Stache Coffee is part of the “Third Wave” of coffee, in which coffee is recognized as a truly artisan product roasted in smaller batches using sustainable farming practices. In fact Stache, which includes a secondary reference to Matt’s mustache, really means, “Sustainable Transparent Artisan Coffee Handcrafted for your Enjoyment.
Matt’s true passion is not only in the roasting of the coffee, but also extends back to the sourcing process. Their products originate from small sustainable farms and are “single origin” which allows the consumer to easily trace where the coffee is grown.
Matt will tell you there is a great deal of hard work that goes into the cup of coffee that you and I enjoy each day. Matt’s role in this? “I try to bring out the beauty of all the hard work. We treat coffee like wine by looking for unique flavor profiles and roasting the beans in a way that best brings out the flavors.”
Matt and Erika are truly passionate about transparency and sustainability in their industry. They want the consumer to know about the coffee, where the beans are grown, who the farmers are and the practices used on the farms. According to Matt, “We want to support a sustainable quality of life for the people farming our products, to provide a living wage and to make sure that the money paid for coffee goes back into these small farms so they can improve their practices”.
Stache Coffee participates in four local markets each week, including the Oceanside Sunset Market. These markets account for about 50% of their business, with the remaining coming from online sales as well as sales to restaurants, coffee houses, retail stores and hotels.
Matt admits he had a lot to learn about coffee. “Passion fueled my ability to gain knowledge”. Matt and Erika are generous about sharing their knowledge. Visit their booth at the Sunset Market, and you’ll find more than a great cup of coffee; you’ll get an education on their products and why it’s important to support sustainable farming practices.
Their products include specialty coffees from around the world, with their most popular offering being STACHEspresso, a mixture of four different beans, ranging in roast levels. They are focused on creating special blends for their individual clients. Matt points out that the coffee is not roasted until it is ordered.
So, what is Stache Coffee’s biggest opportunity going forward? According to Matt, it is to focus more on developing internet sales, particularly weekly or monthly coffee subscriptions.
When I asked Matt about the biggest future challenge for his business, he said it is educating customers as to why specialty coffee matters, why they are paying a higher price for good coffee, and how the money the consumer pays for the product goes back to supporting the sustainable farming practices and helps the farmers have a better quality of life. “If the farmers don’t have a good quality of life, we won’t have a supply of quality coffee”, noted Erika.
You can find Stache Coffee online at www.StacheCoffee.com.