In The Beginning There Was Coffee

By Darby Pritz

But we won’t go that far back. This is the story of how Daniel and I were given a dream.

Four years ago I met Daniel. He was a relative of my good friend, a hunky wrestler, obsessed with coffee, and most importantly, loved Jesus. So obviously I had to have him. There was just one problem: he lived in Florida. I know some of you would not consider this a problem, but I’m from Oklahoma. We have our own musical. I’m a fan of cold weather and to be honest I just don’t enjoy sand. But these are minuscule when compared with the separation from my family. However, we were in love and none of that mattered. We stayed up late talking about the coffee shop we would one day (in the DISTANT future) own, spent our days discovering new roasters and shops, and learned more every day about how much we didn’t know about coffee.

The dream became reality.

32600_359346284182080_1352080582_nDaniel had a friend named David Smith. He was crazy, energetic, passionate, and he was opening a coffee shop. We jumped at the opportunity to learn the business. I believe wholeheartedly that this was orchestrated by God. The next few months could only be explained as a supernatural act. Everything was moving at breakneck speed. It was a whirlwind of excitement, difficulty, and tons of learning. The Coffee Barn and Bakery was born. Daniel involved himself in as much as he could, thinking that one day this experience would be indispensable in opening a shop of our own. Then, just before Daniel and I left for our wedding, the most amazing/scary/exciting/wonderful thing happened: David asked us if we wanted to take over The Coffee Barn. “God, what are you doing? Are we ready? I want to be ready. This is amazing. What.” So we got married, and when we got back the process began. David and his wife, Ashley, eased themselves out of daily operations and we took the reigns. I’m not even going to pretend like it wasn’t terrifying. We had no idea what we were doing and I can’t imagine where we would be without TONS of outside help and the prayers of our loved ones. We learned new things daily, did a lot of things wrong, tried again, and again, tweaked, tweaked, tweaked. But Daniel wasn’t done. He’s a dreamer.

The dream continues to grow.

Screenshot_2015-09-12-17-11-28-2Daniel has an extreme, studious, annoying devotion to the things he loves. It’s mostly annoying because he loves football. But this is truly one of the things I love most about him. He immersed himself in the culture of coffee and business and his thirst for knowledge was unquenchable. We spent our evenings and every spare moment together reading articles about roast profiles, watching coffee farm documentaries, and listening to interviews of notable roasters around the country. We had just welcomed our son into the world and thought “let’s take on yet another challenge”. Let’s roast. We’re insane. Keep in mind that we still had no idea what we were doing, but that hadn’t stopped us before. So Daniel skimped and saved and borrowed and we bought a Huky 500 sample roaster. It was love. We IMG_20150912_101323started small, learning the extremely sensitive art of roasting. At first we roasted only enough beans to replace the espresso blend we had been using. In the coming weeks we had successfully become the sole supplier of all the coffee being used at the Coffee Barn. I will let you imagine what it was like roasting 40 pounds of coffee a week 8 ounces at a time. It was time to upgrade. Our son had his first birthday, we found out we were pregnant again, and we put a down payment on a 3 Kilo U.S. Roaster Corp roaster. Life is amazing and crazy and moves so fast. It’s been almost a year since we purchased the larger roaster. We continue to grow and are committed to never stop learning. I’m positive that this is just the beginning. Daniel and I dream and pray and take crazy steps forward. It’s scary at times but I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.

We are Mountaineer Coffee.

Beth pritz says

We love both of you immensely and we are so thrilled to see you follow God and the dreams he has given you.

Maryellen says

Love to see how God has been working in your lives and work. Privileged to be able to say I know you, Darby. May God continue to grow your faith, family, and business!! I need a trip to Florida!

candicepritz says

This is amazing and inspiring. Love you guys so much.

Lynna Blackwell says

You have a gift for writing, Darby! I love reading your story. So proud if you and Daniel…so thankful you are my Granddaughter–and I miss you like crazy! May God continue to guide and bless you and Daniel, grow your business, and grow those beautiful children into Godly examples of His grace.

Annette Blackwell says

We are so proud of you and all you have accomplished. You are such wonderful people. Your love of God, your love for each other and your family. You are wonderful parents of two precious children. It’s no wonder you have been such a success with The Coffee Barn. You have God in your life. We love you so much.

Edith says

“So, obviously, I had to have him.” <– DIED. Thinking back on how God has called you guys together and what He is doing through you is so much fun. The struggle has been real in all the right and worth it ways. You guys are great. Miss you and love you.

David Pritz says

I’m glad I was there the day you got married! I love your kids and I love your coffee!!!
Uncle Dave

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