Quality Coffee + Quality of Life
Olympia Coffee's success is grounded in our quality-of-life mission, which has lead us to create direct trade partnerships with coffee farmers worldwide in eight countries spanning 3 continents. Our company wasn’t born into success; it has been built that way from the ground up. Olympia Coffee’s humble beginnings started 2005 in an unmarked warehouse in downtown Olympia. The story continues.
Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. was founded in 2005 as a wholesale coffee roaster. At that time Sam Schroeder was hired as the first employee to do production and deliveries. In 2007 the roastery moved two blocks from its original location and opened a coffee bar hidden away on a side street with the simple goal of selling fresh roasted coffee and brewing every cup to order. The store had just four tables and featured windows into the roastery to showcase the roasting process.
Sam Schroeder holding the earned 2015 3rd place trophy from the United States Barista Competition.
In 2009 Oliver Stormshak joined the team to help set up Olympia Coffee’s first direct trade project in Costa Rica. In 2010 Olympia Coffee’s founders wanted to sell the business. Buying a coffee business in the Pacific Northwest, the most saturated corner of the US, during a recession with coffee prices at a historic high seemed like a dubious proposition. However, Oliver and Sam could see the writing on the wall, they had both worked in coffee since they were teenagers, and their passion for coffee had only been growing over the years, owning their own coffee roastery seemed like more than the logical next step, it seemed like their destiny. In addition, they could see an opening in the market.
The Pacific Northwest has a rich history of coffee with roots in the 60’s and 70’s, that set the stage for a vibrant coffee culture that thrived in the 90’s. As the coffee culture started to saturate the northwest, innovative concepts and companies looked towards population centers where specialty coffee was emerging throughout the US and the world. Since the 90’s the most exciting developments in coffee have been shifting away from the Pacific Northwest to cities like Los Angeles, Melbourne, and Oslo.
Meanwhile, in the Pacific Northwest companies that help to create excitement for specialty coffee had become complacent in their success and averse to change and innovation. Oliver and Sam saw an opportunity with Olympia Coffee to create a strong independent coffee roaster in the heart of the Pacific Northwest that will bring our coffee culture into the twenty-first century.
Delivering new and delicious ideas by old, yet fun methods.
The coffee industry is young and evolving, in particular we have seen innovation accelerate in the last decade to generate exquisite coffees unlike any we have ever tasted before. The coffee of today has the potential to be better than at any point in history. This is primarily the result of better relationships and communication throughout the coffee chain, which has allowed us to understand and control the variables that contribute to the flavors of a coffee.
Having strong direct trade partnerships allows unprecedented control over the flavors of a coffee. From varietal selection, to day lot separation, to experimental processing we have never had a greater ability to seek out and shape the flavors we want to experience in a coffee. This combined with better understanding of the science behind, as well as a more detailed approach to, roasting and preparing coffee allows us unlock those amazing flavors inherent in each coffee, which has in turn fueled our growth and our accolades. Success and recognition feels great but what we really love is for creating and sharing extraordinary coffee with our community in the Pacific Northwest and with our friends throughout the world.
Olympia Coffee Timeline
- Olympia Coffee founded as wholesale coffee roaster, with 12 Kilo Diedrich Roaster
- Sam Schroeder is hired as first employee of the roasting facility
- Olympia Coffee expands to 108 Cherry St location in downtown Olympia and opens 1st retail coffee bar
- Oliver Stormshak is hired to start first Direct Trade sourcing projects in Central and South America
- Sam Schroeder and Oliver Stormshak purchase Olympia Coffee from founders
- Olympia Coffee opens 2nd location on Olympia's westside.
- Awarded 2nd and 5th Place at the United States Brewer's Cup
- Olympia Coffee awarded 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Place in the Northwest Brewers Cup
- Olympia Coffee wins Best of Olympia, Best Coffee and Best Customer Service 2011
- Roastery expands to include Wholesale Training Lab and Cupping Room
- Olympia Coffee's short film, From the Source is released and selected to be shown at the United Nations summit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
- New packaging featuring hand-letter-pressed labels and 100% compostable components are released.
- Olympia Coffee wins Best of Olympia, Best Coffee 2012
- Awarded Micro Roaster of the Year by Roast magazine with highest scoring coffees in competition history
- Big Truck Espresso awarded 3rd Place in America's Best Espresso Competition
- First Direct Trade projects in Africa are established in Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya
- Olympia Coffee opens 3rd location in South Capitol Neighborhood of Olympia
- Olympia Coffee wins Best of Olympia, Best Coffee 2013
- Awarded 1st and 2nd Place Northwest Brewer's Cup - Good Food Award Winner for Ethiopia Konga Organic
- Holiday Blend Awarded 7th Best Coffee of the Year by CoffeeReview.com
- Olympia Coffee awarded Historic Preservation Award by the City of Olympia
- Olympia Coffee wins Best of Olympia, Best Coffee 2014
- Roastery expands to 600 4th ave location tripling in size, 23Kilo vintage Gothot Roaster added, and downtown coffee bar moves to 4th ave.
- Awarded 1st and 2nd Place North West Barista Competition -Awarded 3rd Place at the United States Barista Competition
- Olympia Coffee wins Best of Olympia, Best Coffee 2015
- Good Food Award Winner for Ethiopia Adame Garbota Organic
- Awarded 3rd place in United States Brewer's Cup
- Awarded 6th place in United States Barista Competition
Oliver is Co-Owner, President and Green Coffee Buyer for Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. He has worked in the specialty coffee industry for over 20 years. He has held positions in major global brands to regional chains to small start ups. He has worked in all aspects of the industry including barista, manager, roaster, production, green coffee buyer. Oliver’s studies in Food Science in Academia inspired him to approach Coffee Roasting in a totally unique way, looking at the chemical reactions during the roasting process, Oliver invented a new process of roasting coffee called “Caramelization Roast”. Oliver is also considered a “super taster” with one of the few perfect scores on the Sensory Skills Analysis Test. He is passionate about improving lives around the world through quality coffee, equatable trading, and global transparency. In his spare time he loves spending time with his wife and daughter and is passionate about food, cooking, travel, and music.
Sam is Co-Owner and Retail Director for Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. He is a native of the Pacific Northwest. He started as a barista while in high school and worked in coffee through college. Upon finishing his degree with a focus on education, Sam had fallen in love with coffee. At Olympia Coffee, Sam is working his dream job, bringing together his passion for coffee while remaining a educator in a different way than he expected. Sam was the 2015 Northwest Barista Champion. He competed in both the 2015 and 2016 United States Barista Competitions, placing 3rd and 6th respectively.