Lost Coast Roast | Humboldt Made
Lost Coast Roast
by Nora Mounce
Six short months into launching Lost Coast Roast, Humboldt County’s own fair-trade, shade-grown, and organic cold-brew coffee company, the Miller cousins have already expanded their operations into a sleek and expansive facility on G Street in Arcata. Popping by on a sunny morning in January, the guys are buzzing with the excitement and vision that’s fueling their entrepreneurial baby – and of course, literally buzzing on the slightly sweet, organic, highly caffeinated 10.5oz bottles of cold-brew coffee that decorate every surface of their office. Lost Coast Roast’s signature red, green and gold label featuring a flying quetzal has become quickly recognizable throughout Humboldt, as the stubby bottles of liquid hype are increasingly available at retailers throughout Arcata and Eureka. The Miller’s goal is to saturate the local market before pushing their product in the Bay Area, SoCal and Oregon. If anyone has the requisite passion and fortitude to sustain such a project, it’s the Miller cousins.
Meet Dusty, Jonny, Luke and Dylan - technically they are two pairs of brothers, though apart from some red hair, they hardly know the difference. The Miller family moved to Westhaven in 1990 and built their own cabin on 15 acres, the childhood home to all four Miller boys who grew up together as one inseparable lot. After finishing high school, brothers Dusty and Jonny both served overseas in Iraq, Dusty coming home as a Green Beret. Dylan played football at College of the Redwoods, while Luke studied Political Science at Chico State and earned a Masters degree at HSU. By 2015, all four cousins were back home in Humboldt and the timing was right to throw themselves into Lost Coast Roast. Like any successful business start-up, they were inspired by the void of a comparable product. The fact that Lost Coast Roast’s coffee represents the holy trinity of fair-trade, shade-grown and organic is not only unique to cold-brew coffee in Humboldt, but as far as the Millers know, across the country.
To understand how this is possible, here’s a quick lesson in Sustainable Coffee 101. While most consumers understand that organic indicates pesticide-free growing, fair-trade and shade-grown are two crucial designations that speak volumes about the ethics of a coffee purveyor. As coffee is primarily grown in the low and middle-income nations of the southern hemisphere, farm laborers are often exploited by the whim of the global market. Buying coffee exclusively from fair-trade growers, as the Millers do, guarantees the coffee farmers are getting a just price. The Millers currently purchase beans from Nicaragua, which are then roasted locally by another Humboldt Made member and Lost Coast Roast’s neighbor, Kinetic Koffee. Not forgetting the third and arguably most important certification, a commitment to buying shade-grown beans protects the natural habitat of native birds that depend on the rainforest canopy for their survival. Lost Coast Roast believes in their mission so fervently as they understand that the staggering majority of coffee consumed in the United States comes from non-organic farms that decimate the rainforest canopy in order to optimize production. And yes, that is exactly why the beautiful quetzal graces every bottle of fair-trade, organic and shade-grown Lost Coast Roast!
If you prefer to keep politics out of your morning java, there are many other reasons to notice what’s brewing at Lost Coast Roast. While admittedly, cold-brew coffee can be a tough sell to Humboldtians waking to chilly, grey skies, cold-brew has surged in popularity recently as many coffee drinkers have discovered the digestive friendliness of the cold-brew process that yields a high-octane, yet markedly low-acid java. The Millers want consumers to understand that though their 10.5oz bottles retail from $3.50-4, you’ll be downing more caffeine than a double espresso in the form of organic/fair-trade/shade-grown coffee, organic milk from Humboldt Creamery and organic sugar. And for the cow averse among us, a hemp milk cold-brew will be available by this summer. Sounds about right, doesn’t it?
Find the colorful bottles of Lost Coast Roast at Wildberries, Eureka Natural Foods, The North Coast Co-op, Murphy’s, Rays and Los Bagels, with more retail locations added every month. Lost Coast Roast currently bottles Original and Vanilla Dulce with Mocha and Black on deck – so however you take your coffee, you can keep it organic, fair-trade, shade-grown, and very Humboldt Made.