Coffee and Tea Collective opens with a relationship-oriented business style
By Alexandra Safran | SDUN Reporter
After years of selling his coffee online, Coffee and Tea Collective owner Daniel Holcomb recently opened a shop in North Park, so naturally, I had to do some investigating.
“It’s nice and strong but hopefully light enough to drink with pleasure,” Holcomb said to a customer as he carefully prepared an individual cup of coffee. His precision and focus caught my eye, but it was the iced tea that captured my taste buds.
Inconspicuously located at 2911 El Cajon Blvd., with just the word “coffee” written simply in black paint as the only marker on the space, Holcomb’s Coffee & Tea Collective is a simple coffee roasting company and tasting bar specializing in pour-over coffee sourced from beans from around the world.
Holcomb said he is dedicated to promoting a relationship-oriented style of business: not a linear transfer of coffee for money but more of a circular interaction, where the consumer benefits from the product provided. Holcomb said he hopes to improve San Diego’s overall coffee presence in the world.
I took the opportunity to sit down with Holcomb, and since then I have been in almost every day. His gracious manner is infectious, no matter how many straight hours he has been up. Holcomb is upbeat and friendly, serving his customers with a smile on his face.
Alexandra Safran (AS): How did you get into the roasting business?
Daniel Holcomb (DH): I was first introduced when I lived in Costa Rica, where I toured several coffee farms, but around the middle of 2009 I knew wanted to start a business with [a business partner] but didn’t know what form that would take. I had the opportunity to go to Venice Beach and visit [the roaster] Intelligentsia, and that’s where my love for specialty coffee really began.
AS: Where did you learn to roast?
DH: I learned to roast at a roasting school in San Francisco and roasted on many types of roasters including the San Franciscan, my roaster now. Once I came back down, I bought a sample roaster. Recently I’ve upgraded to the new roaster, which has 25 pounds of capacity, whereas the sample roasted was only a two-pound roaster. This was a huge leap for me.
AS: What are you looking for in your coffee’s taste?
DH: I’m looking to highlight each bean’s original and varietal flavors. Coffee beans get flavor from how high they grow, which type of coffee plant they come from and the soil they grow in. So essentially I want to highlight those characteristics. I also do lots of research on each bean and lots of test roasts and I find one [roast] that highlights all the positive characteristics of that bean.
AS: Do you roast in the store?
DH: Yes; I roast about eight batches per week.
AS: What can the North Park community look forward to in the future from Coffee & Tea?
DH: We’re looking to partner with Tiger! Tiger! and Sezio for a grand ol’ event. I’m hoping this will happen in about a month.
Coffee and Tea Collective’s grand opening is scheduled for July 17, with a celebration at the store from 5 to 10 p.m. For more information visit coffeeandteacollective.com or call 619-564-8086.