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Article: 10 Years of Sagebrush Coffee, A Note from Matt's Eldest Son

Sagebrush Coffee

10 Years of Sagebrush Coffee, A Note from Matt's Eldest Son

I’m Jonathan and I currently work at Sagebrush under the title of “doer of whatever needs to be done today”. I’ve been officially working for my dad since 2016, but my first contribution to the company was well before then.

I very specifically remember when I 'worked' for Sagebrush for the first time. We were in Oregon as a family, staying in a cabin near Mount Hood. It was a brisk time of year, as we were on the tail end of the summer season, and we were about to take a white water rafting tour. My dad was about two years into Sagebrush at this time and was on the lookout to possibly refine the current logo he had.

We had just gotten done spending the first half of the week in Portland, so all of us were equipped with lots of coffee, fresh art supplies, and plenty of motivation. I remember a specific book I got, The Hand Lettering Ledger, which opened my eyes to the art of typography. In the heat of inspiration, I began sketching some typography of my own, and what better text to mess around with than “Sagebrush Coffee?”

This is when and where the first iteration of the current Sagebrush logo was born. In the opening pages of a blank sketchbook, with a brand new marker and only a slight idea of what I was doing, the classic orange-on-grey stacked logo came to be. I don’t remember exactly what my dad said when I showed him the marker sketch, but I remember him sort of being like “oh wow that’s actually pretty good”. Keep in mind, I was only 13. With that, he opened his laptop and gave me a blank Adobe Illustrator file to see how it’d look transferred into a usable vector format. The file I put together that morning became the logo we would use for the next four years of the business. 

This interaction turned an interest in graphic design into a passion that would continue to be fostered by Sagebrush throughout my years of high school. As I began taking payroll from the company, the responsibility of all things visual media was quickly moved into my realm of tasks. Photography, graphic design, and packaging design all became areas where I was the lead. As someone who’s very artistically minded, this was a perfect job. Granted, I was 16, and the first couple of years showed that. I had a lot of room for improvement, and frankly still didn’t know what I was doing. But, through multiple graphic design and photography classes in high school, I was able to refine my ability in the Adobe Suite and up my efficiency significantly. I still have a ton of room to grow, but I’m confident with the level I’m at now, and only have Sagebrush to thank for pushing that along. 

Fast forward to today. I’m writing this in late October of 2022, as we’re rounding the corner into our busiest season. Right now I’m involved in all things visual, marketing strategy, coffee house upkeep, barista work, on-bar process development, menu development, and an endless list of projects revolving around refining the business. It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of all the busyness, but being able to take a step back every time we do a cupping and just rave about the way a bean was processed, or the extremely dynamic flavor profile of a coffee from a new farm we’re working with, makes all the difference. I love specialty coffee; I love the industry, I love the craft, and I love the creativity. Having taken my first of hopefully many coffee origin trips this March, I got an insight into how widespread this industry is. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of families who depend on coffee to sustain their life. Whether it’s a single mother picking during harvest season in rural Guatemala, a family dynasty of the world’s finest coffees in Panama, an entire village coming together to process beans in Ethiopia, your local barista manager here in the states, the head of an importation company showcasing coffees in Colombia, or a graphic designer working for his dad in online coffee marketing, you would be surprised to see the ripple effect a single plant can have on the world.

In 2012, my dad had a blank sketchbook of a business, with only a slight idea of what he was doing. It’s incredible thinking it’s already been 10 years. His hard work is unmatched and the sheer number of hours poured into this company by my dad is unparalleled. We don’t know how far into this sketchbook we are, but what we do know is we’ve loved every single page along the way, and are excited for these nearby pages to come. 

As a regular customer, I’m sure it’d be easy to equate your benefit with Sagebrush since you receive yummy coffee from us every week or so. But know that you’re not the only one benefitting here. Not only does your contribution back benefit us, but it benefits a long supply chain of family upon family upon family upon family dedicated to their own unique subset craft within the coffee industry. There’s truly something special about coffee, and the opportunity to see a tiny sliver of a glimpse into the industry this past decade has been beyond incredible.

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