Beginning operations in 2008 with little or no name recognition, the company aimed for the top, striving to earn the business of the best restaurants, resorts, coffee houses, private clubs and bakeries in the country. It required an approach that was both ambitious and painstaking…from seed to cup. “We never viewed this as being a quick process,” says Robert Cole, Vice President of Marketing for Royal Cup. “We roasted coffees for more than a year before we were even ready to share them with our team members to present them into the marketplace. Our mission for H.C. Valentine is ‘excellence and beyond.’ We wanted to make sure the coffees reflected that.”
From the beginning, there was an elevated amount of knowledge required to go out and romance the origins, the farms, the locales, how the coffee is roasted…every detail, from seed to cup. Each member of the team went through an intensive H.C. Valentine certification-training course to learn the nuances of these handcrafted coffees. “Coffee is an experiential drink,” Robert explains. “Just as with fine wine, the chefs and guests they serve like knowing where and how it was grown, how the soil enriches the bean, and how we go about roasting the coffee to deliver these unique profiles and taste characteristics.”
Since its inception, the company has been winning over hearts and palates across the United States, one client at a time. It has also won several gold medals from the American Masters of Taste, a high honor for such a young company. And the client base has proved intensely loyal, with a lot of the customers who started with H.C. Valentine Coffee Company in 2008 still with the company today. “Keeping satisfied customers simply comes from delivering consistent taste and roast profiles and the freshest product of the very highest quality possible,” Robert says.
For his part, Royal Cup Co-founder Hatton Smith is proud of how the coffee has held its own against some of the finest micro roasters around the country while representing a new frontier for the esteemed Royal Cup enterprise. “We’ve gained a significant share in what has become a very competitive part of the coffee business,” Hatton notes. “And it’s created a sort of halo for the rest of the company to be able to represent these fine artisan products.”