Gayla Moore in her warehouse

A REPORT FROM THE FIELDS:

STATS:
Moore Coffee Company
1800 North Olive, Suite C
Ventura, CA 93001
(800) 994-8060, www.moorecoffee.com
Proprietor: Gayla Moore

ENVIRONMENT: Moore Coffee Company, a superb private roasting company, is a business that is humming, both literally and figuratively. Gayla Moore has always had music running through her head and right now she is learning to play the cello, in order to “teach my head and my hands to talk to each other.” She has already acquired the skill and the art of roasting coffee, “teaching the head and the tongue to talk to each other” as she describes it. In love with coffee over the last 17 years, beginning with a small coffee house in Santa Barbara and then moving into the business of roasting, she downplays her accomplishments, but she cannot hide the tune of success. It surrounds her wherever she goes, from online sales, to wholesale sales to private labeling-this lady hums!

PERSONAL GOALS OF GAYLA MOORE: “My business is up 12% from 2006. I've added a 30K afterburner. I'm in the 11th year of my on-line business. This is all good, but the challenge is to continue to expand while at the same time maintaining close personal relationships with the growers and my customers.” Staying close to her sources is her core goal.

COFFEE SOURCING: Moore seeks out only top quality coffees from single origin estates and co-ops that must first meet the standards of her very discerning and picky palate. She cups dozens and dozens of coffees in order to find not just the flavor, aroma and body she demands but the farming practices that are in alignment with her own values. Thus, almost all of her coffees are “quality organic and fair-relationship coffees” that she desires, including Panama La Torcaza, Brazillian Fazenda Vista Alegre, Papua New Guinea Peaberry and some of her best sellers, a Traditional Dry Mocha Yemen Ismaili and Colombia Three Sisters, a co-op coffee from Cauca, named for Moore's three sisters. (And not to slight her only brother, Moore named an outstanding “Brother's Blend” in his honor.)

COFFEE CLIENTELE: The private label varietals and blends Moore creates and roasts are for a myriad of clientele. She tells a story that exemplifies her career path... about ten years ago, she got an invitation from some of her faithful Santa Barbara coffee shop customers asking her to join them for a dinner at their home. Not aware of exactly where she was headed, she drove up a mountain and arrived at an imposing residence, knocked at the door and found herself ushered into... a monastery. It turned out that the friends she had made were actually monks running a coffee-grateful retreat! After a wonderful dinner, they approached her to give a donation to them. She couldn't afford it at the time, but instead offered to create a “Monk's Blend” to serve during their services and then sell as a means to raise monies to help support their causes. Needless to say, this idea was welcomed, and to this day, ten years later, her coffee supplies them with revenue! Now, through word-of-mouth, she has churches and religious organizations across the country approaching her to make original blends to help them fund-raise or to simply serve some great coffee for their services.

THE WINE CONNECTION: Several years ago, Dan Phillips, of The Grateful Palate, (yes, that same quirky, bacon-loving, graphically beautiful, print and on-line catalog) turned to Moore to help him create a coffee addition to his offerings that would support his personal love of the vine and his wine-making friends. It was a match made in bacon-wine-coffee heaven! Moore had the refined and educated palate that could link the common taste profiles between grape and bean. She set out to help winemakers (currently about 15) fashion their own personal coffee blends that would perfectly reflect the nuances of their wines. Capturing the essence of the venture, winemaker Chris Ringland spent “hours and hours playing with different blends, until his palate went numb. The result was worth it. Power, finesse, pure coffee flavor, with length and layers and layers of interesting flavors. Chris Ringland's wine is so rare and expensive that you may never be able to try it, but now you can experience the genius... in a coffee cup.” Moore assisted a coffee from Manfred Krankl, “an amazing stylist. His coffee is a gorgeous, sculpted blend. Rich, exploding mouth feel, with racy acid, creates a dazzling cup of coffee in the Sine Qua Non style.” Then there is the brilliant blend from Brian Talley. “Brian looks for subtlety, purity and focus in his wines and he wanted to create a coffee that would reflect this. He's the only Pinot producer in the group. His blend is the closest to a single estate... delicate, flavorful, yet gently powerful.” And Phillips states that this venture “was my attempt to make a super-rich, dark, full-flavored, intense cup of coffee in the style of Australian Shiraz. Some of our winemakers like this blend best of all.”

COMMUNITY OUTREACH: When all is said and done (or in Moore's case, when the orchestra takes their bow) she is left with more humble satisfactions that may awake her in the mornings... There's a 6th grade field class coming to her roasting facility to learn about how to get their “head and tongue to talk to each other.” She will teach them with jelly beans of course, to recognize the difference between acidity (lemon jelly beans) fruitiness (tangerine jelly beans) and body (licorice jelly beans). Then she'll “show” how to take coffee from its green state to its toasty brown finish, and that will have them “telling” about their visit to Moore Coffee Company for years to come...

Reprinted from CoffeeTalk magazine, September 2007.