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Meet Chrysti Chaney of Jameson Brown Coffee Roasters in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chrysti Chaney.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Chrysti. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Jameson Brown was opened way back in 2006 by Ryan Hamlin and Dave Ross. The two had been great friends for decades and had both started roasting coffee for fun at home in popcorn poppers. Their friends and family quickly caught on and started asking for coffee, more than they could roast in their little air poppers. Jameson Brown was a way for them to share their passion for great coffee with more than just friends and family.

I came into the picture around 2009. I already had a number of years of Barista and recipe development experience at that point, so it was a match made in heaven. The combination of their roasting expertise and my Barista knowledge really allowed us to fine-tune our processes, create unique drinks, and roast excellent coffees.

Ryan’s son, Nick, has been our Head Roaster for around 7 years now, so he and I work very closely. We cup (taste coffees) weekly and work on what we can tweak here and there to make each batch better than the last. I know exactly what I want to get out of the beans and he makes it happen!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Is there a smooth road in the land of small business?! There are always going to be obstacles, but it makes success that much sweeter when you overcome them. Early on, and I think this is the same with any brick and mortar, it was painfully slow. Getting people in the door at first is always the hardest part.

We were fortunate enough to be in a fantastic location right by the Allen Gold Line stop and very near PCC, so we started handing out fliers and free coffee coupons to get people to stop in and check us out. Once we got folks in the door, our coffee and service spoke for itself. If it weren’t for all of the incredible staff I’ve had along the way, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Their excellent service is why our customers keep coming back.

We also owe a ton to all of our early customers, as their word of mouth recommendations are really what got us off the ground. I’ve always believed that word of mouth is far better advertising than any ad, flyer, or commercial and I think that has been very true at Jameson Brown.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Jameson Brown Coffee Roasters – what should we know?
All of our coffee is roasted in-house, five days a week, so the coffee is always fresh. We roast small 14lb batches to ensure quality and allow us to keep a variety of coffees from a number of countries available at all times. We have our staple coffees from Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, Ethiopia, and so on and then whenever we see something cool, we buy it. It is such a joy to have that ability to buy an interesting bag on a whim, and our small scale is what allows us that flexibility. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to do in such a small space. Our volume and variety are pretty unheard of in small, single location shops.

In addition to roasting we are also a sit-down cafe, so you can come in a pick up a pound to take home, grab a simple cup of brewed coffee, or sit down for one of our specialty drinks. We make a number of our syrups and sauces from scratch, which is so much fun for me. I love experimenting with flavors and fine-tuning our specialty syrups. For example, our chocolate sauce is made with Valrhona cocoa, so it’s a really nice, rich, not too sweet mocha.

My favorite recent creation is the Cardamom Rose Latte which was inspired by my favorite ice cream at Mashti Malone’s out in Hollywood. I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, between Rosemead and the Pasadena area, so I’ve been exposed to a wide variety of foods and cultures my entire life and it has had a huge impact on me and the flavors I incorporate into our specialty drinks.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Humility. Being appreciative of every compliment, kind word, ‘thank you’, encouraging review, every piece of constructive criticism; I truly appreciate every little bit. When you really believe every single customer matters, I think it shows. We do what we do because we love it because we want to share it, and hopefully, everyone will love it as much as we do.

Coffee is such a ritualistic experience all over the world. Every country has their own way of doing things, here in the US it’s how many of us start our day and I find it to be such a privilege to help someone start their day. I certainly don’t take for granted that someone is willing to walk in here and hand me their hard-earned cash for a cup of coffee day after day. You create relationships with people in the business and it’s a beautiful thing.

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