The myth of the California garage looms large over American business culture. Global ur-brands like Google, Apple, and Hewlett-Packer each got their start in garage spaces in the Golden State, either rented or on loan from an understanding set of parents. Add to that list the humble story of Kingdom Coffee Roasters, a company started by founder Ty Manukyan and William Rentfrow in a garage in Folsom.
Perhaps less important to the American entrepreneurial psyche is the myth of the California vape shop, but that’s where Kingdom’s headed next, taking over a retail storefront in the Iron Point area of Folsom and setting up to roast, brew, and serve the good people of Sacramento County. And there’s going to be slushies!
As told to Sprudge by William Rentfrow.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Kingdom Coffee has grown from a mutual love of coffee and people. The two of us met at school over a decade ago and always knew we were going to be in the business of changing people lives, we just weren’t sure what that was going to look like. It is easy to overlook the simple things in life that so many of us often take for granted, but once I (Will) started working behind the counter at a small coffee shop in my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, I started to see what a difference I could make in more ways than just making a good drink. Once I shared my interest in good coffee with Ty (Manukyan, my business partner), and we combined our love for serving people, starting our own company just became inevitable.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
It is a lot bigger than the garage we started in, that is for certain. We were on the hunt for a location somewhere in the Folsom area for a while and we landed here off of Iron Point because of how much access it has to so many of the great amenities Folsom has to offer. Formerly a vape shop, cleaning it up was a bit of a sticky mess. We’ve gone from oddly colored walls to clean and monochromatic to help set up the space evolve naturally into what it needs to become for this community. You will notice some inspirations in the design of the space from the tables to the cabinet installations that we have taken from some awesome companies all over. We like having longer tables that are big enough for more than one party to share and having our roasting operation exposed to keep everything and everyone as connected as possible.
What’s your approach to coffee?
It seems cliche to say quality and consistency but we couldn’t ask for anything more than that, but of course, quality means different things to different people. For us, finding the best version of every coffee we bring in is finding it’s sweetest spot in the roast and offering it there. Lots of sugar development to us means lots of balance and a cup that nobody can say no to.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We are most excited to be featuring a brand new Synesso MVP. Having worked on quite a few machines throughout my time so far in the industry, I have yet to find any that hold up to Synesso in terms of both quality and reliability. We look forward to utilizing many of it’s awesome features both to expand our understanding of the coffees we serve, and to ensure a consistent and delicious beverage every time. Along with the Synesso we are starting our with a Compak F8 and pairing it up with the Puqpress to help remove as many variables as possible that can often slow down and get in the way of consistency. For brewed coffees we have the Curtis ThermoPro 1 in combination with an EK43 from Mahlkönig. And taking cues from other awesome folks out there doing both fun and delicious things like Augies down in Redlands, we have a Vollrath Slushie Machine, which we will be using to offer daily and rotating concoctions of cold beverages to help beat the heat throughout the summer.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
We are crossing our fingers as tight as they will go to be open by June 15.
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
Aside from our contractors taking care of the plumbing and electrical aspects of this job, everything else has been done ourselves with the help of a few friends and family members along the way. The biggest help of all being John Manukyan, without whom we would be months behind and without any clue on how to start most of our projects.