Northbound Coffee Roasters in Mount Shasta
By Enjoy Magazine
Story by Jason Burkleo
Photos by Taryn Burkleo
THERE SEEM TO BE two kinds of people in the world: Those who love coffee and those who have yet to taste that perfect roast. It’s also possible that Northbound Coffee Roasters has that perfect roast. If you don’t consider yourself a coffee fan, you might want to reconsider.
Keith Hamrick and his wife, Jen Lovrak, own and operate this tiny coffee roasting company at the foot of Mt. Shasta. They’ve established an extensive customer base that seems reminiscent of the expanding frontier railroads that inspired their company’s name, tapping into the roots of the North State’s rich railroad history. The railroad was vital in forming the Northern California mountain community that the couple calls home, so it seems fitting that a coffee with a similar name would help start the day for many local residents. But this coffee doesn’t just stay in the mountains. Hamrick and Lovrak already have loyal customers all over the West Coast and are still gaining steam.
Northbound chooses the highest quality, organically certified, green coffee beans. For every bean they choose, they will probably have rejected 10. After they decide on a bean, they choose a roast and then subject each roast to an essential process called “blind cupping.” This methodical process puts every roast and every bean to the test. During this stage, they personally smell, taste and savor each roast. At this stage, it’s also very common to hear Hamrick quietly whisper to himself, “Mmm, that is so good.”
Even after a collective 20 years of working with coffee, he and Lovrak both know that few things compare to tasting and enjoying that perfect cup. Lovrak is quick to say that together, they “love crafting enjoyment for people in their daily lives.” Each blend is crafted with some love and an eye for quality that bring so many people so much of that enjoyment. With names like Mainline, Trimmers Delight and Happy Camper, it’s easy to understand why so many North State residents enjoy Northbound Coffee’s premium crafted roasts.
This husband and wife team values quality above all else and their goal is summed up in Hamrick’s words when he says, “I just want people to have a good experience.” From their 1956 Probat Coffee Roaster to their quality labels and packaging, everything demonstrates their company values. They aren’t afraid to pitch their product. They love their coffee and they love to share. At the end of the day, they enjoy their life, and a large part of that enjoyment comes from their coffee and friends. From San Francisco to Boston, many restaurants, cafes, and specialty markets seem to agree. •