Our journey as Meta Coffee Lab began 3 years ago shortly after we got married. We knew that Mike loved roasting coffee for people and that together we loved our community. Thus began our plan to become wholesale coffee roasters in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Mike has been roasting coffee since 2006 and he was still roasting on his "OG" set up back in 2015. Still desiring to share the love of coffee we somewhat impulsively purchased a trike and Mike rode to the Haymarket Farmer's Market every other Saturday that summer. Yes, we needed some way to dispense our nitrogen infused cold brew coffee and TRIKE SO COOL! Perhaps this mindset could be attributed to the income from the two jobs we already worked and our enthusiasm for trikes.
The Farmer's Market is where we met Tom and Heather of Zipline acclaim and the rest is history! That would be lazy writing to end that way but it sounded right.
In 2016 we refined our budget to still include equipment on wheels but eliminated impulsive "trike so cool" spending. We learned about the lean start up method and although we are in a proven industry it feels right to us to invest progressively as we grow. Tom and Heather contacted us wanting nitro cold brew on tap at Zipline and we were prepared for the next iteration of coffee roasting. Enter the North TJ-072 2-kilo roasting machine,
Except where to put the thing! After much consideration, we decided to build a room in our house. Thus we installed many sinks and obtained city licensure. My dad was instrumental in the construction of the room. We really cherish our memories of that time together.
In August 2016 we began providing nitro cold brew coffee to the employees of Zipline and the citizens of Lincoln. That October my dad Lewis died suddenly and in December Mike's mom Mary passed away after a long hospitalization. Our worlds became very gray with the loss of our parents.
Frankly, I don't remember much of 2017. We could certainly discuss mental health but in my personal context it was a blur punctuated with a handful of salient experiences.
A major highlight was beginning our partnership with Indigo Bridge Books and Cafe in 2017. They have been awesome collaborators and we love providing our beans to them. Mike continued to hone his roasting skills and we traveled to Austin, Texas to compete in the US Coffee Championships.
At the end of 2017 we were again presented with another opportunity and it was time for a change. Mike had continued to work for a wonderful Japanese company based out of Portland, Oregon from his home office in Nebraska since returning in 2011. An amazing Slayer espresso machine was in our future and it was finally time to devote Mike's full time to Meta Coffee Lab. It was a bittersweet moment for Mike to resign from a company where he had dedicated many years but our endeavor would always be limited until it became our main focus.
It was a significant moment. It was around that same time we made the decision to invest in the future of coffee and our planet. We joined Arbor Day Farms on Project 2050 to offset our carbon and plant trees.
With that amazing Slayer we eventually launched our coffee bar in Zipline's taproom in June 2018. It pleases me that the size of our small cart reflects the size of our company of two and it happens to be another iteration on wheels. We suspect not many people realize it's just Mike and me. Of course it won't be that way forever. Until then, we wear ALL the hats.
For now, there is exciting news coming down the line. Thank you for reading and I sincerely hope you will join us on Saturday July 28th from 6-9 PM to celebrate our amazing community. Bangarang will be there with food, Zipline is tapping a cask beer with coffee, and we are serving a sweet treat on us. We hope to chat with you then!