At Sandhill Coffee, we appreciate the importance of a good cup of coffee. We want to be your provider for high quality coffee, connecting you to others and to the outdoors. We focus on building relationships. As a proud member of 1% for the Planet, we promise to donate one percent of our yearly revenue to an environmental nonprofit.
Our mission at Sandhill Coffee is to provide you with an ethical and environmental coffee experience.
More than anything, Sandhill Coffee looks forward to ensuring future generations have the same access to this planet as we do today. We want to inspire people to think of the environment first and recognize the amazing opportunities the outdoors has to offer. The planet is our priority—that is why our beans are ethically and environmentally sourced, bringing you coffee that not only tastes good, but motivates you to do good as well.
How It All Started
My journey into the world of specialty coffee may be a little different than most. Prior to starting Sandhill Coffee, I had never served a cup of coffee in a café. Even bigger picture, I did not work in the food industry. How did I stumble into the coffee world? Have to go back a few years for how things fell into place.
I had just moved to Chicago to be closer to family as our son was on the way (I used to live in Michigan.) The process of trying to find my next job begun. At first, I had a fun summer job and was working on a fishing boat out of Chicago. During this, the search began, and I found a contract position. When that job ended, I started working at DuPage Fly fishing. Talking fishing all day was great!
It was during our visit to the hospital to welcome our son into the world, a light bulb went off and thought more about coffee. While welcoming our son, I have several runs to the café and bought cups of coffee. I worked my way down the menu and realized that coffee tastes slightly different from different countries. My interest was triggered and thought this was something I should look into. I always had ideas in my head to start a business just did not know what.
I bought a book called, “Uncommon Grounds” to learn more about coffee. This book was about the history coffee and I flew through it. It was extremely interesting and wanted to learn more. I purchased another book, “Devils Cup”. This one was a journal of someone who followed the path of coffee. I also bought a small, at home coffee roaster to start to roast for myself. This did not last long as I realized this is it! Let’s try to turn this into a business. But first, learn the roasting thing, haha.
To me it was a “what’s the worst that can happen?” Job offers were not flying in so let us give it a try.
From this point on is when I really started to ramp up the roasting at home to learn more about what it takes to roast a decent cup of coffee. Intentionally screwing things up, under roasting, over roasting to taste the difference. I spent hours upon hours of watching YouTube videos, reading about coffee roasting to learn what to do. The most valuable thing for me was to roast bad coffee on purpose to realize what a bad taste it. However, this is a continuous learning process. New beans from different countries and other variables.
Anyways, I need to find a way to make money from this new idea. I was given the idea of starting at a farmer’s market. It was a good idea but terrifying at the same time. People are going to try the coffee out, what if they do not like it?!? Had to dive in and try it. Fast forward to the night before my first farmer’s market and I remember being so nervous, that I could not sleep.
Over three years later, still serving coffee! I hope you start your many adventures with a cup of Sandhill Coffee.
P.S. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. I love hearing about your travels and outdoor hobbies—especially fishing!—and I do my best to answer every email.
Sunset pic from Antigua, Guatemala - not too far from the coffee co-op