Blue House Coffee, a local Arizona coffee business that primarily serves cold brew, started out in 2012 as two friends experimenting with a coffee brewer.
Sam Beger, an ASU alumnus with a degree in anthropology and one of the owners and founders of Blue House, founded the company with his friend and co-owner Nicholas DiPastena, who is an ASU alumnus with a degree in economics. The two started this journey as roommates, spending a lot of time roasting coffee and coming up with new recipes in the backyard of the little blue house that started it all.
Once the coffee recipes were refined, Blue House became a business, operating a cart on the corner of University Drive and College Avenue in Tempe in 2012.
Beger said he would ride through campus on his cargo-bicycle-turned-coffee-stand, along with aid of several part-time employees.
“Our motto is to enjoy great coffee, in great places, with great people,” Beger said. “We really liked the idea of bringing specialty coffee to where people gather already.”
He said he and DiPastena started their mornings early to serve quality cold brew all over campus.
“There were very few quality coffee places in Tempe," Beger said. "I had always thought that a coffee cart serving quality, quick, iced coffee would be a great business."
After being awarded a grant from the ASU Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative, Blue House established relationships with coffee farmers and created more mobile coffee carts.
Long-time customer Jenna Koblinski said before trying Blue House, she was not much of a coffee drinker. But the authenticity of the leadership at Blue House and its community turned her into an avid drinker, Koblinski said.
Now it's one of the only places she goes to buy coffee, she said.
“I have never met such a genuine group of people who really cares wholeheartedly about the work they do and the people they are servicing with their coffee,” Koblinski said.
In December 2018, Beger opened the first cafe storefront near ASU’s campus in Downtown Phoenix.
Blue House sources and roasts its own coffee from a variety of farmers around the world, he said.
Beger said he travelled to each farm for a better idea of where his coffee is coming from. Some of these locations included, Haiti, Costa Rica and Uganda.
“In order to be the best roasters that we can be, we need to understand the process that beans go through before they enter our roastery," he said. "We believe that coffee is a story and getting to know our coffee producers is the first step."
Beger said he always loved the science behind roasting and brewing coffee.
“I thought it was awesome to see how the temperature and solubility of different compounds in coffee played out in the flavor of a cup,” he said.
By using nitrogen pressurization and a toddy method, Blue House is able to serve cold-brew coffee on tap via kegs. By using this method, iced coffee can stay cold and fresh for a longer period of time, Beger said.
“There is so much that goes into a cup from the soil to the plant varietal to the processing method to the roasting process and finally to the brewing method. There is a story behind every cup,” he said.
Manager of Blue House, Jayson Lolling, said he has plans to integrate food products from local vendors onto the menu, to make the location feel like a farmer's market in a cafe.
The vision and community-centric environment of Blue House make it a good fit for this plan, Lolling said.
“I love the culture of it, that’s really what drew me to it," Lolling said. "I just love (Beger’s) vision. It's all about people, and everyone is just so awesome, from the people who roast to the people that work in the markets."
The Blue House brand is always looking for ways to improve its business and community, Beger said.
“For me, the coffee business is a vehicle to improve my community and connect with others, both next door and around the world,” he said.