Business Spotlight: Devil's Head Coffee
This is the story of how a series of unfortunate and fortunate events led to a company that has thrilled the taste buds of many.
Chris Meginbir, owner and head roaster at Devil's Head Coffee, is an avid climber. It was a combination of an injury that temporarily put his climbing on hold, being stuck with horribly bland workplace coffee, and seeking a hobby that could take him into his older years that resulted in his brand.
"I started it as a hobby," Chris admits. "I bought a little roaster and roasted for friends and family. It just grew from there!"
The company name has special meaning for Chris.
"Devil's Head is a mountain just northwest of Cochrane. It is in 'The Ghost,' what local climbers and other outdoor enthusiast groups call the area. Officially it's in the Don Ghetty Wild Land Park, but the closest community to the area is Waiparous, which is native for 'The Ghost.' We chose this name because it's a stunningly beautiful area of the front ranges, and it's super adventurous just to get out there. From a climbing, perspective, it's a pretty rugged place, but always worth the extra effort. It just embodied so many aspects of what I value in life."
There are a lot of great coffees on the market; Devil's Head has a winning formula for standing out among its competition.
"We stay true to our goals," admits Chris. "We only do something if it is towards the betterment of four things: quality, community, inspiration and education. These things drive us, provide a compass when we need to make decisions, and keep us in line with what we do. These qualities permeate through all of our employees as well. Really, it comes down to a lifestyle for us. We all love coffee and outdoor adventures, sharing it with rad folks and providing ways for others to see what we love."
He continues, reflecting on what he wished he knew when he started the venture. "I would have started sooner, I think! I took my time to learn before I really started, afraid that folks wouldn't like the coffee, so I started really small and it took a while to get the business to the point where it made sense. I learned a lot doing it that way, but I think I could have jumped in with two feet straight out of the gates. Probably a lesson somewhere in that."
In addition to ethically sourced, small batch roasted coffee, Devil's Head also runs the Mobile Café.
"To be honest, I really wanted to learn more about being a barista and wanted to get out and do events to get our name out there," Chris says of the Mobile Café. "Our brick and mortar is where we roast coffee and I am not overly interested in advertising in general, so having to think about advertising for my company was hard. So, I figured we could build a mobile cafe to achieve both of those things. It has opened lots of doors for us as we get amazing opportunities for face time to a wide array of audiences that we'd otherwise have a hard time reaching. We have been at places like Porsche Calgary, music festivals, weddings, schools, farmer's markets and all sorts of private functions. We've been a part of some cool fundraising initiatives, community events... it's honestly been mind blowing."
Devil's Head is a small company with a very big heart.
"We are super small as a business," says Chris, "but we do what we can. We have donated full days of our time for fundraising initiatives to be on site with the Mobile Café to raise money. We donate to silent auctions, take donations for the food bank several times a year, and just generally try to help out where we can. We also write a pile of free content and publish it on our blog to help give out ideas on brewing coffee, or offering up information on where our coffee comes from and why it matters."
There are some exciting things brewing up for the future... even if those things are kind of hush-hush for now!
"We do have something coming out in the end of November. I can't say much, but... it's super cool. We've teamed up with a local brewery to launch a super cool beer. We will be announcing it on our Instagram page in short order, so if you like beer, keep your ear to the ground!"
From delicious coffee to the Mobile Café, from a zero waste in-store program to new and exciting products and services, coffee lovers have every reason to embrace the dark warmth of Devil Head's Coffee. Keep up with the brand by visiting devilsheadcoffee.ca and following @DevilsHeadCoffee on Facebook.