SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — For the past six months brothers Jake and Kyle Miller have been perfecting their skills roasting coffee. With a mission to produce organic and fair trade roasts, the two created a fitting name to represent their hometown, Tallac Coffee Co.
With a small batch, 4-pound roaster, the brothers have been cranking out premium coffee that they will sell through their website starting on their intended launch day, Earth Day, Thursday, April 22.
“We want to bring awareness to wildlife protection in the Lake Tahoe Basin,” Jake said. “We thought coffee would be a good platform to communicate environmental changes and reach the most people.”
Through a partnership, each bag of coffee they sell, 50 cents will go to support Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care and the Sugar Pine Foundation.
While traveling around the world, Jake went to India where he saw the direct damage caused by pollution. When creating this new business it was a mission to be an example of a business that does not produce an excess amount of waste.
Tallac Coffee Co.’s packaging and stickers are biodegradable and compostable.
The Millers grew up with an affinity for environmental causes and wildlife.
At a young age, Jake said their grandmother, Kathay Lovell, who also happened to serve as mayor of South Lake Tahoe, would take them to volunteer at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care even before there was a facility and when it was in the founder’s backyard. The brothers had hands-on experiences with bobcats and black bears.
Both in their early twenties, the Millers decided on this endeavor after Jake’s profession as a massage therapist had to be put on pause due to the pandemic. The brothers had a vision and poured their savings into it.
“The journey has been so rewarding,” he said. “I feel like you know you are doing the right thing if you are constantly getting yourself in debt and you’re still happy. You can still feel the progression. I feel rewarded knowing that we are doing the right thing.”
Jake said that he hopes to be able to do more community projects through the business including local cleanup and group hikes.
Jakes says that their mission is based on what his grandfather always told them; to leave a place cleaner than you found it.
However, this isn’t the brother’s first time owning their own business. In addition to Jake being a licensed massage therapist, the Millers also started Reno-Tahoe Homes LLC., a yard cleanup company during the pandemic.
While Jake says that their roasting skills were formed by multiple trials and errors, the brothers received training from online courses presented by Mill City Roasters and San Franciscan Roaster Company. They also attended an in-person roasting course with Kuska Coffee based in Petaluma.
After testing out five different suppliers, Tallac Coffee Co. went with beans supplied by Organic Products Trading Co. from Alameda, Calif.
Tallac Coffee Co. will offer a Desolation Dark, which is sourced from Columbia, Big Mountain Medium from Peru and a Full Moon Light sourced from Ethiopia.
“It was really hard to find a supplier that offered fair-trade and organic,” he said.
Tallac Coffee Co. will have wholesale and retail selling options along with direct door dropoff. They also hope to be offered at local markets and have a coffee shop in the future.
For more information, visit the soon to be launched tallaccoffee.co.