“The fact is, I have never put our coffee into an establishment without the owners later reporting that customers commented on how much better the coffee had suddenly become.”
Nor-Cal Coffee is a wholesale coffee business with the mission of providing restaurants and cafés with coffee made with beans that were harvested and roasted to premium standards of quality. Not only is our coffee superior to products they have been purchasing from big-name suppliers, but we do so at a lower cost.
Nor-Cal offers six different roasting levels to cover everyone’s tastes, with styles ranging from light/blond to a full body dark. Rick Olson, the owner and master roaster, creates each style from a special menu that combines various beans from different regions and roasted for varying lengths of time. Any person with a discriminating and educated palate will detect underlying fragrance and bouquet in a cup of our fine coffee. The lighter the roast the more pronounced the bouquet so in Medium Special Roast or our Early Bird coffee the drinker can detect a half-dozen smells and tastes.
Unlike mass market wholesale distributers that offer coffee as only one item in a list of products that include such things as ketchup, mustard, and pancake batter, Nor-Cal’s only business is roasting and distributing the highest premium-grade coffee — though as a convenience we also supply customers with other products including teas and chocolates.
Our coffee is fresh because Rick roasts a batch every morning. We make weekly deliveries to 84 locations including small cafés and restaurants stretching from Oroville to Roseville, and now into East County. A number of them are chef-owned with the result that the owners and their patrons understand what a quality cup of coffee is supposed to taste like. They are typically ready to fill out an order sheet following their first taste of Nor-Cal coffee. Some have told us they never knew what coffee was supposed to taste like until they tried one of our blends.
The potential clients in other establishments, however, include the proprietor of a small general store or a roadside bar & grill that for generations may have been selling coffee to customers who are content with flat-tasting coffee simply because that’s what they’ve always served. In that case we seek to educate their taste buds in order to appreciate the taste of coffee at its best.
I often will give prospective clients a free pound of coffee. In many cases, that’s the only sales technique that should be needed because their own taste buds will give them a favorable report. Even better, however, I confidently tell them that they will get unsolicited compliments on the coffee. The fact is, I have never put our coffee into an establishment without the owners later reporting that customers commented on how much better the coffee had suddenly become.
Once in a while we get some resistance, however, because the person finds it difficult to suddenly set aside their long-held opinion about what coffee is supposed to taste like.
On rare occasions we encounter hardened sales resistance by a person who wouldn’t change coffees no matter how much tastier and cheaper the new beans might be.
However, people who try our coffees with an open mind invariably come around because of the demonstrable fact that our coffees simply taste better. We’ve participated in 42 competitions against our leading competitors and take home first prize 75 percent of the time. Last June Courtland’s iconic Steamboat Landing conducted a Barista tasting, pitting our coffee against three local brands plus Peet’s Premium Roast. Not only did we win the competition but Steamboat Landing has begun serving Nor-Cal to their customers.
For a few reasons, Nor-Cal coffee is the obvious choice for the manager of any site that offers coffee to its clients. For one thing, our coffee beans come from the coffee-bean-bearing Arabica bushes growing in South American plantations at high elevations. The cold temperatures stress the fruit resulting in lower yields than from plants grown in lower and warmer environments. However, the stress locks the flavors and lactic acids into the beans that would otherwise have escaped into the air in a warmer location.
Because of the lower yields, our fruit is harvested by hand by real live “man with the donkey” workers rather than by the mechanical harvesters used on the trees with more abundant fruit growing at lower elevations.
Another element in the process that adds quality to our beans is that we use a hot-air roaster, which creates better results than the barrel roasting method used in the assembly line processes of 95 percent of the market. The hot-air roaster provides opportunities for the acids and carbon dioxide (C02) to escape resulting in a smoother less-bitter roast and allowing such component flavors as chocolate, berries, and earth tones to become more distinct.
The third reason why Nor-Cal is the best choice actually has the highest priority for many of our clients: We help their bottom line. Our boutique handpicked and hot-air roasted coffees are actually less expensive than the inferior mass-produced products sold by our competitors because our overhead costs are far less than theirs. As a result, we typically offer a 13.5 % return on investment, which means that customers using 25 pounds of coffee a week will save $1,365 annually.
As an additional bonus, we offer more environmentally sound packaging than our competitors. Rather than shipping coffee in small disposable single-serving bags, we use 5-pound FDA approved sacks, each with a scoop designed to put the exact amount of coffee into the filter while creating much less trash than with the smaller bags.
In East County we have the best fruits and vegetables and now we have an opportunity to also have the best and freshest coffee. I’m committed to helping fix that problem. Drop by Willy’s Bagels or Dad’s Café, try a cup of coffee and see if you don’t say, “This is the way coffee should taste.”
Photos By Ron Essex