Yesterday, Rise Up Coffee in Maryland celebrated its 9th birthday with the arrival of a San Franciscan SF75. As the roaster took its epic journey from Fallon, Nevada, to Easton, Maryland, we at The San Franciscan Roaster got the chance to write about our interview with owner Tim Cureton about coffee, the Peace Corp, and opening a specialty coffee business in, of all places, Maryland!
Rewind to 2001. Tim had just completed a stint in Micronesia with the Peace Corps, and he took a roundabout way home through several coffee origin countries and through Australia, where he first brushed against the passion and ritual surrounding coffee. Though til that point, Tim had “consumed coffee as any other college student had, to keep [him] awake with heavy amounts of cream and sugar”, the experience changed him. Upon his return he started to educate himself about coffee, and a few years later he had a revelation. “If I couldn’t figure out a way to continue to gallivant around the globe and see other people and cultures on a regular basis, perhaps I could bring the world to me in the form of coffee.” And that’s how Rise Up was born.
Tim had traveled west and seen drive-through concepts, so he miraculously got a business equipment loan (without a business) and purchased a little tin trailer to equip for coffee, opening in March of 2005. For the first six years, Tim sold coffee roasted by Dave Stewart (co-founder of Seattle’s Best) that was roasted on Vashon Island, Washington, and shipped across the country. Rise Up opened a second, and then a third location. “I always knew that we would eventually reach the point where we’d roast our own coffee, and I looked forward to it,” says Tim. “It took us 6 years but we were able to get there. The anxiety about transitioning over to roasting our own coffee was considerable! Our customers that we’d spend 6 years cultivating loved Rise Up and the taste that was in their cup, and we had to reverse engineer that on the east coast.”
From the beginning Tim gravitated toward The San Franciscan Roaster, he says, drawn by “its craftsmanship, beauty, and reputation. So I first tracked down an SF1 in California and had that shipped across country, and then was able to find a legendary SF25 that was even more well travelled than I am!” About a year ago, Tim took the trip to Fallon, resulting in Rise Up receiving a new SF25 and SF1, with the SF75 arriving last week. “As Bill said, it was love at first sight, and I agree! One thing we pride ourselves on is that we really plan for success and this decision to invest in the new roaster is one I feel great about.”
“The reason I got into coffee was the global connection to these beautiful places, people, and cultures. We are super proud of our coffees that we package and deliver to our customers, and know that in every part of the process, everyone has given full effort.” Tim says that when Rise Up was born in Maryland it was like a spaceship landing: no one knew or cared about specialty coffee. But from the beginning, he and his team have had remarkable success with engaging and educating their customer base, and the exponential success of Rise Up is a tribute to the outstanding quality and presentation they pursue.
Happy 9th Birthday, Rise Up! We are honored that you chose our roasters, and excited to partner with you for many years to come!