Some people love the smell of freshly brewed coffee first thing in the morning.
John Hall loves the smell of freshly roasted coffee in the afternoon.
From the comfort of the backyard of his Oro Valley home, Hall has his coffee-bean roaster filled with six pounds of raw coffee beans. He has his ear close to the 450-degree spinning roaster drum as he listens for the "first pop," followed by a "second crack." That's how he knows the beans are done roasting and ready to be cooled.
For the past eight years, Hall has been roasting in his backyard and selling coffee. For the past four years, he has been selling his fresh-roasted and brewed coffee from his shop, Desert Rain Coffee, located at the Oro Valley Hospital.
"Instead of a comfort food, it's a comfort drink, and I like being a part of that," he said.
For the 55-year-old, it has been a long road to this moment.
"I worked as a chef for 30 years, and I always had hobbies like brewing beer and stuff like that," Hall said. "I had heard about roasting your own coffee — you could buy a little home roaster — so I bought one and started to play with it."
Hall took his roaster and coffee to work for a meeting and served his coffee for the chief executive officer of the company. His CEO loved the taste of the freshly roasted and brewed coffee so much that he asked if Hall could continue to bring his coffee to their meetings.
"I knew, eventually I wanted to go into business for myself and I didn't really want to own a restaurant," he said.
Hall soon started to sell his java at the farmers market in Oro Valley, to people buying and selling. He knew he had found his niche.
"Why people don't roast is it's a big investment," Hall said.
Ten years ago, his roaster cost about $8,000. Today, he said, a similar one would run close to $10,000.
He'd invested time and money into the coffee roasting and brewing practice, then was approached by people at Oro Valley Hospital and asked if he would be interested in opening a coffee shop.
"They had had my coffee at the farmers market, and really liked it," Hall said. "They asked me if I was interested. They had a space available and in July, it will be four years."
To create a desirable coffee didn't come naturally. Hall received some of his training at a National Specialty Coffee of America annual four-day seminar with training classes. There, roasters learn proper bean blending, explaining what beans compliment others. Training also consists of proper roaster care, along with the best way and locations to buy beans.
"I find people come back for consistency," Hall said. "Even if it's a restaurant or a coffee shop.
"You don't mess with people and their coffee. It's a happy time of the day for people when they come to the coffee bar."
Desert Rain Coffee
1551E. Tangerine, located in Oro Valley Hospital
Sunday, 8 a.m. – noon; Monday–Friday, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. Closed Saturday.