HOW IT ALL STARTED.
"The small, seemingly insignificant, day-to-day, friendly gestures that we can easily take for granted connect us to community. It might not look the same across different cultures, but respect translates to any language. It took me being homesick halfway around the world to truly appreciate the value of genuine respect and kindness. In 2014, I was in Afghanistan wrapping up my time in the Army when I had the vision for Polite Coffee: great coffee with real friendly people. When complete strangers go out of their way to show you kindness, it reinforces a sense of belonging. Through daily, ordinary acts of kindness, Polite Coffee is building community.
Soon after leaving the Army, I started a coffee shop in College Station while attending Texas A&M. After graduation, I decided to at least make an effort to put my degree to work and took a 9-5 job. I couldn’t run a coffee shop with a full-time gig so I started roasting on the side. My wife and I were living in Normangee, TX, so I built a workshop to roast in. I roasted for several months before I had something drinkable, and several more months before I was proud of my coffee. Babe’s doughnuts (the best donuts in Bryan/College Station) took a chance on me and became my first customer. Soon I was selling coffee at the local farmer’s market in downtown Bryan. It’s hard to describe how blown away I was by the reception of Polite Coffee. Within a few months I crossed paths with Barry, who owned the Kyle House which operated primarily as a restaurant/event center that served cocktails and coffee. Soon, (literally 4 months later) we became partners and relocated the roaster, then shortly after, we turned the Kyle House into a dedicated coffee shop to showcase all the cool things that come out of our roasting operation.
In 2018, I flew to Idaho to learn more about Diedrich Roasters at their factory in Sand Point. The people at Diedrich are really friendly and I ended up placing an order for an IR-12 soon after that visit. Diedrichs are fantastic roasters, you can learn more about them here, or feel free to drop us a line or come check ours out!
Since the very beginning, Polite Coffee has been about quality. Even at a small scale, hand sorting defective beans is a time-consuming process. I would do my best to pick out any quakers, burnt or damaged beans, and foreign objects like rocks (left from the drying process at origin). Since we are committed to offering a quality product, we invested in a Sovda optical sorter.
The Sovda takes pictures of every bean and kicks out any bean/object that does not fall within a predetermined range of colors. It is really neat and we are excited to be Sovda’s first demo site in Texas. You can check them out here, but please reach out to see what they are all about if you have any questions.
Once we were comfortable that we had the right equipment in place to roast amazing coffee, we worked on building an amazing staff. This started with my own professional development by becoming a licensed Q grader."
- Steve Turner, Head Roaster and Founder of Polite Coffee Roasters