Monday, June 22, 2009

A Special Father's Day, Complete With Excellent Customer Service

For Father's Day this year, my wife and son decided to take me to an independent coffee roaster in Bethel, CT. I was very excited to go but there was one hitch: they weren't open on Sunday. I decided to email the company and see if there was any chance of setting up an appointment.

The owner of Redding Roasters, Bill O'Keefe, emailed me back right away. He explained that he had the day off and was going to be spending time with his granddaughter, but he offered to open up the shop at 9 am and he'd give us the tour.

I replied instantly, thanking him for his offer but I told him we'd decline as we'd never want to interrupt HIS Father's Day. He insisted again, saying it was not an inconvenience at all, so we made the appointment and the early morning trek down to his facility.

He brought us in a little bit early as there wasn't much traffic, and immediately made us some fresh Ethiopian Harrar. He then gave us a lengthy overview of his business process, from roasting tips and methods to the decaffeination process. He was even patient with our 1 year old, as the baby morphed from patient observer to restless explorer.

Bill then did what I was hoping for - he fired up his 2004 Diedrich Roaster, and ran a small batch of Ethiopian Harrar. The green beans turned to a medium brown in about thirty minutes or so, as the roaster scaled to 440 degrees fahrenheit.

Bill showed us his inventory of beans, highlighting the most popular and the most rare. He didn't mind that I wanted to take pictures and ask questions. Our visit lasted two hours, an hour beyond what was initially agreed on for the appointment.

It is rare that you come across this kind of customer service. Bill left a tremendous impression on us.

I did become a customer, purchasing a 1/2 pound of the fresh roasted Ethiopian Harrar (he said to wait about a week for peak flavor), a 1/2 pound of Brazilian, and a 1/2 lb of Brazilian decaf.

Redding Roasters offers a large menu of fresh roasted beans and also does quite a bit of private labeling.

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