Josh Crane is a passionate coffee and outdoor enthusiast from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Naturally, Boulder and CU were the perfect fit for his school and life.
If a degree in business marketing and finance was not enough to keep him busy, Josh also had dreams of supporting his community in the medical profession. After graduation from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he moved to Breckenridge to pursue medical school (and of course, to enjoy everything the mountains have to offer). In a turn of events, Josh sustained a hip injury on the ski slopes and was limited to low-impact sports – and this is how he found biking. Josh eventually moved to Boulder to continue his med school pre-requisites and work at Boulder Community Hospital – and this is when he found coffee.
Studying for medical school entrance exams, Josh lived in coffee shops. It was here that he developed a palette for a particular type of brew that he noticed was hard to come by. With a newfound passion for coffee, Crane traveled to South America to broaden his knowledge of the coffee culture. He was aware that coffee farming is a key industry in countries such as Colombia, but observed that people who lived there did not drink the fruits of their labor. They drink freeze dried coffee because the coffee beans they farm are exported. Crane went on to learn about the production and supply chains of producing coffee as well as proper roasting.
Armed with the invaluable experience from South America as well as watching the beer brewing boom hitting Colorado, Crane began experimenting with roasting his own coffee in a whirly popcorn popper, which is a common method for home coffee roasting. Beginning with small batches, he roasted for 3 ½ years honing his craft and reconnecting with his love of the sciences and experimentation. With this experience and his desire to support the community, Josh decided to combine his education in business with his love of coffee and biking.
Crane created The Coffee Ride, a one-man operation in which he hand roasts and delivers by bike world class coffee beans. Stemming from his trip to South America, he is very careful about sourcing his coffee responsibly and creating a low impact business model where everyone wins. He finds ethically grown and direct trade coffee through a co-op that works directly with coffee bean farms and rotates his offerings with staple coffees including Ethiopian, Kenyan, as well as espresso.
Through experimental trial and error, Crane has undertaken a great deal of research into developing the most flavorful and best roast profiles. He believes in learning by doing and feels coffee roasting and cupping is both a science and an art. When roasting he plots time and temperature every 30 seconds to develop a roast profile for each particular region of coffee. These regions present their own uniqueness for roasting and taste, so he completes this process for each coffee he brings in to optimize the flavors.
The Coffee Ride is a year-round operation because Crane loves biking in all types of weather, even in snowstorms and the ever-changing Boulder weather. He appreciates that his “office has a 360-degree view of the Flatirons.” Says Crane, “biking is like meditation, it’s peaceful.” He also works directly with two farms: 63rd Street and Bona Vida Growers. There, people can order their weekly bag of coffee to go with their produce share. The bread and butter of The Coffee Ride is bike delivering its goods to both residential and commercial coffee fanatics. They even use completely compostable poly bags to protect their products from the ever-changing Colorado elements. That way the bags can be left next to the front door, similar to your milk delivery. In addition, The Coffee Ride ships coffee nationwide giving your friends the ability to experience the distinct roast profiles. However, Crane’s goal is to primarily stay a community-supported roaster.
Josh loves meeting new people and the social interactions The Coffee Ride provides. He values shaking the hand of another person and enjoys their direct positive response more than a financial reward. He throws “coffee cupping” parties for friends when introducing a new coffee batch, developing a test roast offering 15 samples of cups at different roast levels. As a roaster, there’s a personal touch to every batch of coffee he makes.
For more information on The Coffee Ride or to place an order, check out thecoffeeride.com.