Nice to Meet You!

Our story begins as most great stories do…with a couple dudes driving around the desert in a Mustang. Ok, maybe most stories don’t start that way, but more should—and ours did.

We chose a San Franciscan as our coffee roaster for lots of great reasons. Top notch quality and reliability, amazing customer service from a company comprised of good, down to earth people. That’s right up our alley. When we realized they were built in Carson City Nevada, that was icing on the cake. As the roaster was nearing completion, we were thrilled to travel to Carson City to meet it and learn all about it from the guys who built it.

Anyone who’s ever tried to get to Carson City from Pittsburgh (which is probably no one) would know that it’s not exactly a straight shot. Multiple connections, red-eyes, and expensive too—so we did the only sensible thing we could think of—and flew to Vegas (direct), got up-sold out of our ‘economy Kia’ into a Mustang and drove 9 hours through the Nevada desert to Carson City.

Here are some quick highlights:

First, San Franciscan is an amazing company. Tiny, independent, kind of vibe—really wonderful people who stand behind their equipment—and take pride in it.

We were flattered by their gracious hosting, blown away by their kindness and expertise—and for that, we will be eternally grateful.

Our roaster worked (and looked) amazing as promised. We had an absolute blast learning to use it, and even though we were just seasoning it, the coffee that we turned out of it was still superb. And we think you’ll agree, the custom bronze powder coat and nickel plating were right calls.

Carson City was gorgeous, and the people were super friendly. I had no idea exactly how close to the mountains and Lake Tahoe the town actually was—so it was really neat driving through desert for eight hours, then showing up in what felt like a semi-alpine frontier town on the side of such an amazing lake (which I did make time to hike down to for a sunset).

The drive back was the best part. We went south via Route 395, which sits at the bottom of the easternmost ridge of the Sierra Nevadas for the better part of the drive. Several times we could see it snowing up in the mountains from the valley floor where we were driving in 75-degree sunshine.

Aside from natural beauty everywhere, the happiest surprise was stumbling upon some of the best smoked meats we’ve ever had—right on the side of the highway in the middle of a small desert town. I couldn’t remember what the place was even called, but there was no forgetting the URL:   What a URL. And they deserve it.

Lastly, we cut across Death Valley—which to be honest, I never thought I’d get to see. It doesn’t strike me (being from Pittsburgh) as somewhere to drag the family for a week-long vacation—but I am very fortunate to have seen it. Aside from the super-bizarre golf course (literally in the middle of Death Valley), the beauty was stunning. Plus, there were some pretty straight and flat roads where we got the Stangarang a-cookin’. Which in hindsight seems like the best way to see Death Valley. Or to start a new coffee company for that matter. With a great friend, in a convertible Mustang, just blasting it through the desert—looking forward to whatever is around the next mountain.


At De Fer, we believe that coffee and tea are as much about the people as they are the product. We support and partner with cafes, artists, grocers, restaurants – you name it – to create amazing custom roasts, beautiful art, and exclusive products. If you’re interested in becoming a bigger part of your brand’s coffee or tea offerings, crafting a proprietary roast, or having your art showcased, hit us up!


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