What’s your preferred cup of coffee? For Chris Wilson, it’s pure espresso. His brother David Wilson prefers a calmer cup made with a French Press—he loves the slow process, he said.
This year, the brothers’ local coffee roasting business, Curve Coffee, turned one year old.
“I think most people aren’t necessarily experiencing the full range of what coffee can taste like,” Chris said. “So we wanted to share that with people.”
A year ago, Chris pitched the idea of starting a coffee roasting company in Moab to his brother. Chris was in Washington, D.C.; David was in California. They were enticed by first, immersing themselves back into the coffee culture their family cultivated when they were younger, and second, the beauty and fun of life in Moab.
The coffee world has been significantly shifting over the past 20 years, Chris said. Coffee has transformed from a commodity to a specialty, like wine. For some coffee drinkers now, gone are the days of Folgers Instant Crystals—they prefer a specialty cup, responsibly sourced, with notes of fruit and chocolate.
“What’s happened on the consumer side of coffee, how we think about it and how we drink it, has allowed a transformation to happen on coffee farms also,” Chris said. “People are willing to pay a little bit more for coffee. So now farmers, instead of thinking about how to grow the most coffee in the cheapest and fastest way, can really put time and energy into making the most unique and interesting coffees possible.”
One of the most important things about being a coffee roaster is being able to identify those unique notes and find a roast that will most enhance them. The Wilsons use a small-batch drum roaster, which spins the green, unroasted coffee beans over a burner. For now, you can find them roasting in the Youth Garden Project’s community kitchen—but they’re looking to find a more permanent space to house a larger roasting machine, Chris said.
Since starting their business, the brothers have done “thousands” of roasts, Chris said. The small roaster that they use currently allowed them to “dive really deep in really fast” into the world of roasting, David said. The brothers are self-taught, but utilize information about roasting from books, coffee forums, and their own experimentation.
They only use beans that are responsibly sourced, David said, from farms that pay better wages, have sustainability practices in place, and produce high-quality coffee.
Curve Coffee currently offers eleven different beans, including a light roast from Colombia, with “aromas of fresh melon and notes of chocolate-covered strawberries”, roasted at 389º; a light roast from Ethiopia, with “notes of honey, chamomile, smooth chocolate and apricot”, roasted at 390º; a light-medium roast from Costa Rica that’s honey-processed, roasted at 392º for exactly 10 minutes and 13 seconds; and a cold brew blend that mixes light and dark roasts to create a complex cup.
The two got started selling their coffee at the Market on Center, a seasonal farmers market that this year will return in May. Now, they’re selling coffee at a few shops in town as well, including Moab Made and Moonflower Community Cooperative.
“It’s been really cool to put that effort in and then see how it pays back,” David said. “We’ll definitely continue to do the farmers’ markets this year and we’ll do a few coffee tasting events around town. It’s been really neat to watch the business grow.”
“What we’ve found is that so many of the restaurants and guiding companies in town are using coffee that’s not local,” Chris said. “And that’s what we want to pursue—there’s no reason why you can’t have delicious, responsibly sourced coffee that’s roasted right here in Moab.”
Curve Coffee is also available online at www.curvecoffeeroasters.com. The business offers free local delivery for online orders—use the coupon code “local” at checkout, and the brothers will deliver coffee to your doorstep. To keep up with any coffee tasting events, follow Curve Coffee on Facebook or Instagram.