A lifelong “foodie” with gigs as diverse as sommelier, dot-com founder, wine group Chief Marketing Officer, consultant, and lead guitarist, this guy eventually caved to his first love (coffee) and launched a roastery to up the game of the North Bay coffee scene. And just so his other first love (music) didn’t get jealous, he gave the company a rock n’ roll persona so he had an excuse to have electric guitars on the brain even when he wasn’t playing them. Derek had his first cup of coffee (milked down and sugared up) at the tender age of four or five, and from there a lifelong passion was born. A chance guest lecture from Dr. Illy of Illy Espresso was a formative experience during undergrad years at the Cornell Hotel School, as was a Blue Bottle cappuccino around 2004 that redefined for him what a quality cup of coffee could be. From there it became a complete immersion into the world of specialty coffee, borrowing much from his wine and hospitality experience, culminating with the concept for Ohm Coffee Roasters.
As other “Third Wave” roasters formed a movement driven by equal parts quality obsession and a lighter roasting style to accentuate origin, Derek saw similar trends to his time in the wine business. The light roast movement started as a backlash to the heavy-handed (some would say charred) roasting approach of the Second Wave, not unlike the unoaked wine movement was a backlash to the oaked-up butter bomb wines of a decade or two ago.
But as it often goes with backlashes, being dogmatically against something doesn’t necessarily lead to the best possible product. Rarely in life are things fully black or white, the best things in life are often shades of gray. In this case, Ohm's roasts strive for the best of both worlds--enough roast time to fully develop the natural sugars present in the bean, but not so much as to overshadow each bean's origin character.