Owner Steve Chriswell said he got into the business in 2012 after losing his job in sales and marketing. He said a friend had asked him several times to enter the coffee business, so Chriswell started out roasting in his own kitchen.
“We’re sampling it out to different people, letting them try, and some of our friends were like, ‘Hey, we like what you’re trying to do. We like this; we want to finance a roaster for you,’” Chriswell said.
Now, the roaster supplies coffee to local companies, churches, coffee shops and regular customers who buy their own beans or grounds.
The coffee beans Chriswell receives are different than what many regular coffee drinkers are familiar with. It is a green fruit, similar to the nut of the cherry, that comes from across the world, including Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sumatra.
“It’s really kind of this chain-of-custody thing,” Chriswell said. “It has to be grown the right way. ... It has to be shipped the right way and protected and stored there the right way. Then I get it, and I have to roast it the right way.”
After the beans arrive, Chriswell said he only roasts what is needed that week to keep the beans fresh. He also grinds beans for each customer.
During the first few months of the lockdown, Chriswell said business dropped since churches and companies no longer were open. But as the year continued, he said orders slowly picked up, and he feels hopeful about 2021.
“You can only do the best and can control so many things,” he said. “So we try to control what helps our coffee taste good.”
Vertere Coffee Roasters
22289 Ford Road, Porter
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., closed Sat.-Sun.