Coffee beans from around the world mark the start of an American day

“Tommy Thwaites, right, roast master at Dillanos, checks green coffee beans in the roasting process he’s removed from the roaster (above, right) with a trowel. In the bin in front of him are freshly-roasted bean kept moving with a spinning arm. It takes about ten minutes for them to cool. The process of roasting a new 90-pound bag of green beans and cooling them is continuous. That way, the temperature of the gas-heated roaster stays consistent.The varieties of beans for a particular blend are usually roasted together, which contributes to their overall taste. (Fox Hollow Coffee staff photo) (Editor’s note: This is the second story in a series about coffee–its history and the people who make sure the coffee lover ends up with a quality product in his or her cup. The main subject of this story is Kent Holloway, founder and president of Fox Hollow Coffee).To have a great tasting cup of coffee, you first have to start with properly and consistently roasted coffee beans. The roasting process brings out the sugars in the beans and therein lie the subtle flavors that make a coffee drinker enjoy this product at the start of the day.Kent Holloway, president and founder of Fox Hollow Coffee, developed and roasted a number of unique blends and roasts before he partnered with Dillanos Coffee Roasters in Sumner to use their roasting facilities. Holloway markets his coffees as micro-roasted–which means they are roasted in small batches. Because of the micro-roasting, the customer has the freshest product available.In this respect, Fox Hollow Coffees’ motto is appropriate to note: At Fox Hollow we seek to create a culture of fun, hard work, and excellent products manufactured with pride. Our trademarks are: quality products, care for others, enthusiasm, and long term profitability through carefully steady growth. We will continue to be an innovator among the ‘super premium’ specialty coffee micro-roasters.Dillanos Coffee Roasters, which has had articles about their business published in Forbes and Entrepreneur Magazines, is well-known for their own (different) smooth espresso blends.They roast three different blends for Fox Hollow Coffee: Point Defiance, Espresso Bar Blend, Fox Hollow Blend and a just-developed roast named Narrows Bridge Blend, for an espresso bar that opened recently in Redondo Beach, CA.I used to be a customer of his when he owned Austin Chase (Coffee), said David Morris, president of Dillanos. Not only do Holloway and Morris have coffee beans in common, they both named their companies after sons. The first and middle name of Holloway’s son, Austin Chase, is well-recognized as the signature name of the first coffee business he started, and Morris used his son’s name, Dillan, for his company.Kent originally wanted to use our roasters to roast his own coffees, but I told him he’d be in the way more than anything else! We decided to strike up a partnership and we’ve been working with him for the last two years, Morris said.Fox Hollow Coffee is among the 10 to 15 private labels of beans that Dillanos roasts. The company also roasts beans for national, Korean, Russian, and Canadian companies.But the bulk of the companies we roast for are in the South Puget Sound area, he said.The beans are watched carefully as they roast at temperatures of 430 to 460 degrees. The master roaster checks a small portion of the beans every so often to look at the color of the beans, as well as their texture. As they roast, the shriveled green beans puff up and smooth out as the water evaporates. Less roasting time produces a light roast and a longer roasting time produces a darker bean that is perfect for espresso–but not with a too dark, almost burned taste.In the 20 to 25 minute roasting process, a 90-pound bag of green beans is reduced to a 70-pound bag of roasted coffee beans due to water evaporation. After roasting, coffee beans from Costa Rica have a sweet essence in their character, Guatemalan coffees taste smoky, and Sumatra coffee beans have a green, jungle-y accent. It is when the beans, with their unique characteristics, are blended together that magic happens in the brewing and the rich, complex flavors come alive on the coffee drinkers’ palate. With an eye to the future, Holloway doesn’t choose coffee beans that are so exotic that if there was a crop failure, he wouldn’t have access to those particular beans for his blends. It is also a reason why cupping is so important within his industry. Coffee is a crop and subject to changes in the environment, so each shipment is cupped to check the beans for consistent taste.That way, the blend can be adjusted accordingly.When you develop your ability to taste the nuances in the coffees, your mind can direct the blend, Holloway said. And then it’s a coffee epiphany! From then on you never think of the coffees in any generic sense when you have an Americano or even a latte. You think of its elements. Upcoming seminar on the coffee industryKent Holloway will be one of the speakers at the Specialty Coffee Business Seminar to be held October 26, 27, and 28 at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle.As an instructor, he’s as good as they get, said David Heilbrunn, vice president of marketing for the seminar.He’s taught many classes in business planning at colleges (including Pierce College). His knowledge in that field is exceptional. I grabbed him for our seminars because he’s a pro. He started seminars with us in 1993, in Philadelphia.Other speakers at the seminar will include David Morris and Chris Heyer with Dillanos Coffee Roasters in Sumner.Among the topics are: research concepts, planning the location of a business, making a business plan, equipment, training employees, and advertising and promotion.Anyone interested in being involved with the coffee industry, or coffee business owners, would benefit from attending the event. The hours for the seminar will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, with an hour lunch from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.The cost for the event is $500. For more information, contact Heather Anderson, the event coordinator, at 206/232-2982. Anderson said reservations may be accepted in July.Information will also be available at the Coffee Fest Web site at: An invitation to teach–from Bill GatesKent Holloway was surprised and delighted recently when he was invited by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to become one of 13 coaches in 10 school districts in the state for the purpose of increasing the level of education in the districts. I love to teach, Holloway said. I enjoy helping people develop a profitable business and be an asset within their communities, and maybe one day pass down a business they’ve developed to their children.He has been assigned to help in the Enumclaw School District.It’s a neat opportunity to contribute something meaningful, he said. “