California’s Napa Valley might be more famous for its rolling hills and myriad wineries, but coffee is beginning to carve out some real estate of its own. One of Napa’s newest gems is Naysayer Coffee Roasters, which set up shop on the southern outskirts of the city of Napa earlier this year.
The roasting company is the culmination of a long-held dream for Beth and Chris Vecera, two California natives who have both worked various jobs within the coffee industry since college.
“We’ve both been in the industry for the last 10 or 12 years,” Chris Vecera told Daily Coffee News, “and we had the idea of starting a coffee roasting company. We’ve always wanted to do that. And we also wanted to move back home. Napa is my hometown, and it’s kind of an untapped area for specialty coffee.”
The couple and their two kids moved back to Napa in the summer of 2018, and launched Naysayer in February of this year. Since its launch, Naysayer has gained a foothold in this foodie-heavy part of the state, selling wholesale to restaurants and wineries while offering tasting classes to wine industry experts and curious locals alike.
Vecera cut his teeth roasting coffee for Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders in Orange, California, with whom Naysayer has maintained a close green-buying relationship. This has allowed Naysayer to source coffee with a personal touch that appeals to Vecera.
“[For] our Costa Rica offering we have right now, Rio Jorco, [Bodhi Leaf green buyer] Jared was just in Costa Rica in April, they got it into the warehouse in July, and we’re roasting it now.”
The California connection continues with Naysayer’s choice of roaster, as the Veceras opted to buy a Loring S15 Falcon.
“Lorings are manufactured in Santa Rosa, only about an hour and a half away from us,” said Vecera. “We did a tour of the whole manufacturing plant, I started to do some research, and we love it. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but it was a very conscious decision.”
While locals and Napa visitors tend to be well-versed in wine, Naysayer has been mindful to offer potential customers an easy way into specialty coffee, offering a couple of darker-roasted blends and hosting regular coffee tastings at their production facility.
“Being a roasting company in Napa, we’re kind of big on the education process and teaching people to taste coffee,” said Vecera. “A lot of the people who take the cupping classes are wine industry people, so the concept of a palate and tasting notes and stuff like that really appeals to [them].”
For the time being, Vecera is looking for Naysayer to cement its place within the region’s coffee landscape by continuing to serve at farmers markets and expanding their wholesale reach. Going forward, Vecera says Naysayer may soon open a cafe, but there’s no rush get in the retail game.
“One of our slogans as a company is ‘making craft coffee common’… people understanding and appreciating good coffee as part of their daily experience,” he said. “We like the idea of people making good coffee at home — you don’t have to necessarily have to go to a cafe to enjoy a good cup of coffee.”
Fionn Pooler is a freelance writer and former coffee professional based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.