Pro sports to pro coffee

Aha! coffee moments for Cory Withrow and Elliot Reinecke

A latte served at Steady State Coffee, which competes for the national roaster championship in April.
  • A latte served at Steady State Coffee, which competes for the national roaster championship in April.
  • Image from Steady State's Facebook

The Chargers may have left San Diego, but former NFL center Cory Withrow is here to remind us most of the athletes on the team would have preferred to stay. “I feel for the players,” he says of the team’s move to Los Angeles, “I promise you that 99 percent of them want to be here.”

Withrow is a case in point. “We came out here in 2006 when I signed with the Chargers, and have been here ever since.”

Though he played his last game for the St. Louis Rams in 2008, the Spokane, Washington native settled permanently to Poway when his playing days were over, and in September he opened a specialty coffee shop there — the city’s first.

King’s Craft Coffee Co.

14530 Espola Road, Poway

The King’s Craft Coffee Co. sits at the entrance of the North County Soccer Park in east Poway, serving espresso drinks, cold brew, and pour over coffee with proprietary King’s Craft beans that tend towards Withrow’s fondness for medium roasts and bright, washed-process beans.

Global Coffee Trading

11585 Sorrento Valley Road #108, Sorrento Valley

Most of these beans are contract-roasted at Black Velvet Coffee in Mammoth Lakes, where Withrow experienced his specialty coffee aha! moment a few years ago. However, in January, he began supplementing this supply with beans he roasts himself at Sorrento Valley’s Global Coffee Trading.

King’s Craft shares a cofounder with Global Coffee in partner Mark Schellhase, so Withrow’s been tapping that company’s roasting and educational resources to develop his skills. “We roast about 50 pounds every other week as I try to learn the craft,” he says. He’s already contributed to a coffee beer collaboration with Santee’s BNS Brewing, and plans to eventually acquire equipment to roast all King’s Craft coffee on site.

Withrow chose Poway for its “small town feel,” and notes he’s glad to trade in his local status as “NFL guy” for his new role as “coffee guy.”

Steady State Coffee

2860 State Street, Suite B, Carlsbad

Another retired athlete has embraced specialty coffee in Carlsbad. Former pro mountain biker Elliot Reinecke has been roasting coffee in a 250-square-foot shop called Steady State Coffee.

Reinecke experienced his aha! moment during a four-year biking career. In Massachusetts for a race, friends introduced him to Barrington Coffee Roasting Company, which spurred an interest that turned into a hobby. “I was retiring from racing bikes, and my wife and I bought [a roaster] on eBay,” he recalls. Pretty soon, “I was roasting in a shed on our alley in Cardiff for fun.”

Steady State Coffee

2860 State Street, Suite B, Carlsbad

Called Boogie Beans at the time, Steady State opened in June, selling beans three days per week. Reinecke has grown the business incrementally since, and now offers full coffee service six days a week while he looks for a larger location.

Already, Steady State Coffee has garnered major accolades. In February, Reinecke earned the third highest score during the regional round of Specialty Coffee Association’s annual roasting competition, and in April will be one of 12 roasters in the nation competing at the U.S. Roaster Championship in Seattle.

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