For most words in the dictionary you can find more than one meaning to define a term, and as you can see above the same goes for ‘righteous.’ In the case of the new Tomball, Texas coffee roasters Righteous Brothers I found that both meanings apply to them as well. “People come in and ask, ‘what makes you righteous; do you sing?’ Well yeah, but you probably don’t want to hear it,” Jacob Loyd, Operations Manager, tells me chuckling. When I ask him what their name really means he doesn’t hesitate in telling me. ”Righteous? After our faith. Faith is a big part of what we do. Our faith in Christ, and the salvation that we have in Him” It appears that their faith has blessed them with growth, great opportunities and new friendships.
As we talked at their Tomball Farmer’s Market booth a number of customers came by to greet them and chat as they picked up a refill of coffee beans. They picked up bags of Hondo, Bella Carmona, and Waghi Bob as they talk and laugh together.”We use coffee as a vehicle to meet people,” he says as he explains their philosophy which centers around the letter ‘C.’ ”We gravitate toward that with craft, culinary and conversation and all those things bring community. We can share a cup of coffee, just like if you were gonna smoke a cigar or drink a beer with somebody; it lets the defense down. We love that aspect of the business, and the craft.”
Already they have met many new people at their booths and in their travels that have enabled them to reach even more new customers. Coffee farmers have come through to meet them as well as importers. They recently met a local importer that they are now working with to begin using coffee that is brought in directly from a farm in Honduras. “We’ll be able to give more back to the farmer. We want to make sure that the farmer is paid well,” he assures me as we talk about direct trade.
Since the beginning they discovered that founder and chief roaster Billy Schiel seemed to have a knack for roasting good coffee. “We’re not technical. We just kind of wing it.” They don’t come from a coffee or culinary background and at first had even thought about brewing beer. “There is the anticipation and not being able to enjoy your craft right away, so we thought coffee is kinda of cool.” They sourced different roasters and tried them all to see what taste they wanted to achieve. “We wanted to mimic what Handsome coffee roasters was doing; you know that coffee taste that you can drink it black.” As with all coffee roasters they started out with the bare minimum: roasting on the stove top. “Billy was roasting, and called me and said, ‘dude get over here. I think I screwed something up.’ He gives me this coffee and I drink it and I was like whoa…do it again.”
They realized that they had something special going and soon found that others thought they did too. A gentleman in their church backed them financially and helped them to get up on their feet. “We were sort of teetering like a toddler and now we are trying to take big boy steps.” Besides the coffee that they started off with they now also offer Cascara tea (a tea made from the dried berries of the coffee plant), and cold brew coffee. Their cold brew is a little different than what you normally find though. “We cold brew with the Toddy system and then we pump in nitrogen and let it infuse for 3 days in the fridge. It gives it that nice body, and frothiness.”
The Righteous Brothers are happy with where they have made it to since they have started. “It’s been a crazy ride in this past year,” Jacob says. “Looking back, it’s only been a year, but it feels like we’ve been doing this forever.” He tells me that both he and Billy have done well in the past but there were also times when they didn’t. Of all the times, though, they feel that they are in a good place now that they are starting over.“I feel that right now we are the best we have been at a spiritual level and personal level. When you have nothing, when you start with nothing, it brings in a humbleness you know. You don’t have to put a tie on to impress somebody.” And they have impressed a lot of people, myself included. They have done it by just creating a community of people that love them and their coffee.“In coffee there are no smoke and mirrors. At the end of the day, it’s just coffee. It’s your job to source good coffee and its your job not to screw it up. We just love coffee.”