"In between moments of crisis and panic, I find a lot of joy."
-- Dave, founder and owner of Dawson Taylor Coffee
How Dave Lost His Marbles
In the early 90s, Dave Ledgard had a dream of starting his own coffee roasting business. Like many small business start ups, he was relying on a silent investor to help get the company rolling. When that fell through, Dave was not ready to give up. He had been a long-time antique marble collector*, so he flew to LA for a marble show and sold most of his prized collection in order to fund his new coffee business. He also did some consulting in the coffee industry, and was paid with a roaster. That's how it all started.
Over the years, they have added Dawson Taylor Downtown and a new pour over bar adjoining the roastery, Roast. Dawson Taylor is named after Dave's son Dawson, who was a year old when the coffee business was started. Dawson can now be found quietly working away behind the scenes for the company that bears his name.
The Luckiest Guy in the World
While the business is named after his son, the other employees feel like they are part of the family. According to Dave, "The most compelling part of owning your own business is the humans you surround yourself with." There is a good feeling behind the scenes, and it's apparent that the people working there really enjoy it. Abbey is a testament to this. She left the company in 2001, but then came back 4 years later and has worked there ever since. Talking to her and Katie (in accounting and sales), it feels like I am hanging out in someone's house drinking coffee in the living room rather than in an office.
Dave is also quite a prankster, and is known to throw the occasional firecracker. He describes himself as "the luckiest guy in the world."
The Difference is in the Service
As the company has grown over the years, their commitment to quality and service has stayed with them. Dawson Taylor goes the extra mile to ensure that the places who serve their coffee have their equipment properly calibrated and that their staff is well-trained to brew the coffee in a way that brings out the best in the bean. The grounds to water is ratio is important, as well as the quality of water being used to brew. "Coffee is not very complex, but you do have to get all the factors right," says Dave.
The coffee takes about 12-16 minutes to roast, depending on the type of bean and the type of roast they want for that bean. Stephanie is the primary roaster, and she comes to Dawson Taylor after many years as a barista and roaster in Salt Lake City. If you get the chance, ask to go to one of their cuppings, where you will learn a lot about what to look for in the flavor, as well as try a bunch of delicious coffee!
Pro-tip: If you are a light-roast lover, make sure you check out Roast, Dawson Taylor's new coffee bar on Lusk St. Order pour over or French press and be amazed at all the aromas coming out of your cup! The Papua New Guinea is a good place to start.
Dawson Taylor Snapshot
- Started in 1995
- Selling to the Co-op since 1995
- Employs about 20 people
- Buy at the Co-op in 12 oz bags or in bulk
- Operates the roastery and two coffee shops: Dawson Taylor downtown and Roast (adjoining the roastery)
- You can find their coffee as far away as Wyoming, Oregon, and Utah!
*If you ever get a chance, ask Dave about marbles. The history of their manufacturing is really interesting, and he is full of great marble facts and figures.