What It Takes to Open a Coffee Roasting Company


It’s really pretty ingenious.

Look at a product that your business consumes and spends a lot on, and see if you can do it yourself.

The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians in Southwestern Oregon was looking to expand their enterprises again. Already running the Seven Feathers Casino Resort and several other diverse businesses, including a mini-storage, travel center, creative agency, utility cooperative and their K-Bar Ranches (which cover over 5,000 acres of Tribal properties, on which are managed over 4,000 head of cattle, large alfalfa and wheat crops, and most recently crops of sugar beets), they looked at their coffee consumption.

At their casino resort and other Tribal properties, they were purchasing over 20,000 pounds of coffee a year!

They asked themselves, “What would it take to roast our own coffee?”

Through the help of Tribal member Kyle Kennington, VP of Business Development at UMPQUA Indian Development Corporation, who had previous experience in the coffee industry, the work began to create Takelma Roasting Company.

The business is succeeding with three employees under the mentorship and guidance of Kennington. Two are Tribal members, and in the summer, they employ at least one member of their Tribal Youth Group as an internship. They have been in operation for just over two and a half years now.

During their first full year in 2018, they roasted over 35,000 pounds of coffee. During their second full year in 2019, they roasted over 50,000 pounds of coffee. Not only are they supplying their own enterprises with coffee, but they also service a wide variety of wholesale customers from retail shops, restaurants, cafes, offices, hotels, casinos and much more.

It took close to one year of doing research, purchasing equipment, branding and learning the trade before the first Takelma coffee was ever served to guests.

What makes their coffee different? According to Eric Albecker, Takelma’s Production Manager, they’re the only roaster in Roseburg, Oregon. Their quality stems from small batch roasting of specialty grade coffee. The green raw coffee beans are sourced from Atlas Coffee Importers. Finding a source that believed in sustainability and responsible business practices was critical to the team.

Albecker was working in Portland when he heard about the project. As a Tribal member, he wanted to be involved and spent many an hour watching YouTube videos, learning how to manage production and gleaning knowledge from Kennington. “There was a time crunch with getting a coffee roasting machine; but three months after receiving it, we were already fulfilling orders for the casino,” said Albecker.

Albecker added, “As a Tribal member, it brings me great joy and pride to be a part of something like this and the opportunity to do what we do. We aim to craft quality, specialty grade coffee products while considering our effects on the world around us. We offer a wide variety of coffee products from individual coffee pods, to retail bags to cases of portion packs. Much pride and care goes into our products.”

Insightful business folks, they see the opportunity to supply other Tribal casinos and gaming vendors with coffee. They even make great gifts for the holidays and for VIPs. And wouldn’t it be great to support another Tribal enterprise? The team at Takelma Roasting would like you to taste their Southern Oregon roasted coffee and is offering a special 25% discount for online orders if you use the code: magazine. Visit takelmaroasting.com. For more information, feel free to reach out to Albecker at eric@takelmaroasting.com.

Christine Faria 53 Articles