For some people, coffee is a drink. For Feast Coffee & Culture, it's a culinary experience. Whether you are joining them for a cup in their Redding, California café or enjoying a freshly roasted bag in your own home, Feast coffee hopes to bring the joy and fulfillment of a celebratory meal with friends into every cup they make. We sat down with Feast to see just how they do it.
Why the name Feast?
"It is what we embody and are called to create. When you think of a feast, medieval images might flit through the mind’s eye — of long rough strewn wooden tables, laden with all manner of foods, golden goblets, boisterous conversations and general merriment.
These are some of the essential elements we aim to translate into the modern day setting of a coffee company and café. Whether it be through our product or service, in-house or enjoyed at home, in the office — any place a person may interact with us and what we make — our hope and aim is that the following feasting elements are translated.
Beauty: We believe in creating beauty in this world — whether by design or conversation, packaging or service — we aim to make it beautiful. Invitation: We believe in the invitation and welcome that a banqueting table extends and aim to extend that same 'everyone has a place at the table' feeling through our interactions and spaces, as well as a sense of belonging through our brand and product. Connection: Merriment and conversation is something we hope to facilitate in every service rendered and cup poured. Savoring: Lingering at the table and savoring the flavors, taking the time to slow down and really taste, is something we aim to inspire in our staff and customers alike. In a fast-paced, social-media-driven world, we are creating a space for people to enter into the precious present moment, taking the time to gratefully enjoy their cup of coffee and the effort that went into it from bean to cup. Team and Community: The preparation and presentation that goes into the feast is a collaborative effort showcasing and celebrating each participant's contribution and gift.
'To gather joyfully is indeed a serious affair, for feasting and all enjoyments, gratefully taken, are, at their heart, acts of war.’"
What is Feast's approach to sourcing?
"Relationships, relationships, relationships. We love working with people we know and believe in, who carry the culture of excellence and integrity in all that they do. For us as a micro roaster that looks like traveling to origin when we can to build upon existing relationships and grow new ones.
Right now we work with six origins — Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kenya, Colombia, Burundi, and Honduras. We work with different importers for each origin, who have built relationships on the ground in each respective country. Each of the importers we work with have direct relationships with producers and source the best coffees in their respective regions. We try to buy lots from the same producers as consistently as possible, year in and year out."
Tell us about the Redding coffee scene.
"Redding is a frontier town to the bone and as such, has a long history of cowboy coffee drinking inhabitants, the darker and thicker, the better. This presents its challenges to the specialty coffee industry as a whole, but it is also the privilege and fun of what we get to share with our community.
The look on a customer's face when they taste a natural Ethiopia for the first time, for instance, blowing away the four-walled box they had ascribed the flavor of coffee to, is a joy we get to relive over and over again in Redding. Our locals are also adventurers to the core, and thus, we have a booming specialty coffee scene in our small town of 90,000 residents. To date there are four coffee roasters, including Feast, in Redding, as well as multiple cafés serving contemporary style coffees. All in all, it is a tremendous privilege to be a part of shaping the culture of coffee in Redding."
How do you name your blends?
"To date, we have only ever offered one blend, Power & Glory, which is named after one of Eric and Lisa Schuler's favorite little cafés in Cape Town, South Africa. It was one of many beginnings on our journey of falling in love with coffee and each other!"
How did you come up with your bag design?
"Matt Larson is our head designer for Feast, but as we love to collaborate and feature artwork on our bags, we have worked with a variety of artists over the years. Currently our bags feature mostly artist Amy Renee's designs, as well as Heather Saiki on the Power & Glory bag.
We love the idea of showcasing our talented friends' work on our products and Matt is a genius at pulling everything together in a cohesive Feast brand way."
What are you most excited about right now?
"We recently purchased the café that we have been roasting out of for the past two years, and are in the process of rebranding it and dreaming of the possibilities. Lisa really enjoys the creative process of design and making spaces her own.
On the coffee end, we just released a natural Guatemala, and it is to die for. In the past we've tended to only purchase African coffees that are naturally processed, so this has been a fun flavor exploration for us and our customers alike."
— Eric Schuler, Founder and Roaster, Feast Coffee & Culture | Redding, California