We first caught wind of the roastery plans this spring after the company had purchased an approximately 10,000-square-foot building a mere three blocks away from the Dichotomy café and bar. With a shiny new Diedrich IR-12 and a double-barrel US Roaster Corp sample roaster, the Apex production roastery is currently occupying approximately 1,800 square feet of the building, with an attached cupping lab taking up about 400 square feet. Dichotomy “Chief Coffee Officer” and Apex wholesale director Cody Fergusson recently told Daily Coffee News that the company plans to lease parts of the building to a new microbrewery and a bicycle repair shop, two businesses that share the roastery’s craft-focused mentality.
Apex coffees now join Dichotomy’s already impressive multiroaster lineup, which includes names such as MadCap Coffee (Grand Rapids, Mich), Ritual Coffee Roasters (San Francisco), Commonwealth Coffee (Denver), Thirty-Thirty Coffee (Peoria, Ill.), PT’s Coffee (Topeka, Kansas) and Texas roasters Cuvee, Tweed and Avoca. Fergusson said Apex is likely to be represented in the shop through an ongoing espresso offering and a batch brew.
Roasting is led by Zach Sanger, who’s familiar with Diedrich machines through his roasting experiences at the upscale Texas grocery chain Central Market and Austin’s Casa Brasil. The initial greens have come from Minneapolis-based importer Cafe Imports. “We fell in love with a couple coffees from Cafe Imports and we decided to go with those initially,” said Fergusson, adding that Apex may work with additional importers moving forward, while also exploring more direct trade relationships.
“We’re looking for whatever stands out to us on the table,” Fergusson said. “We definitely have a special place in our hearts for berry and fruity Ethiopias, but we want some more everyday coffees as well. We have a coffee from Colombia that is very, very smooth, and I’d like to have two or three more coffees that we bring on — whatever is in season and tasting good.”
While Apex’s initial offerings are single-origins, Fergusson said the team is currently working to develop an espresso blend that could help the Apex name pop not only inside Dichotomy, but in other cafés through wholesale accounts. From the outset, wholesale has been the king post in the Apex structure, and the company hopes to develop the name locally, regionally and nationally.
“We want to start with just building the name and building better coffee in the Waco area,” said Fergusson. “We definitely have some friends and contacts in some of the bigger surrounding cities — Dallas, Austin, Houston — and that would be the next step. We’ve also talked to some friends in other states who’ve been excited about the product. We don’t want to be a local one-shop roaster, we’d like to supply as many people as we can.”
Fergusson said the Apex concept has been informed by Dichotomy’s experience as a quality-focused multiroaster café, with the coffee team regularly sampling and buying great coffees from throughout the United States.
“It’s almost become a fairly congested market these days,” Fergusson said of the high-end wholesale market on a national level. “Being a multiroaster, when new roasters pop up, you get samples from people all the time. But the list of names gets smaller and smaller as you taste new coffees. From our standpoint, we want to make sure that the coffees we buy aren’t just convenient or cheap. We want to buy coffees we believe in and we want to be really consistent roast to roast.”
That, Fergusson said, is the approach toward keeping the Apex name on the short list. “We do have friends in other places around the nation,” he said. “If we can get them to carry some of our stuff, maybe that can help us get the name out on a national level. But we hope the product kind of speaks for itself.”