I had my first "real" coffee experience in college. It was an iced coffee (which at the time probably meant "coffee that was once hot"), and was properly loaded with milk and sugar. Nobody in my family drank the stuff - and this felt like a small act of discovering whomever I was.
That coffee shop (Java Jones, in Santa Barbara) no longer exists. But my love for coffee (and the stories behind it) certainly carried on. Years later I'd find myself working on a coffee farm on the Big Island of Hawaii - plucking ripe cherries, learning the basics of roasting on a Diedrich IR-12, and cupping various coffees every day.
It's certainly a treat to say, "I worked on a coffee farm." But let's be real. I was no farmer. I was an apprentice to some insanely hardworking folks (aka, anyone farming anything) and it was a tremendous learning experience. It helped me realize how critical each step really is during the "harvest"-side of a coffee's journey to our cups.
Years after that, I decided to start Latigo. Partly because I always wanted to start a coffee business - and partly because it gave me the chance to play with a different kind of coffee brand that I didn't really see exist. One that celebrates California's outdoor culture, sure... but also one that avoids pretentiousness at all costs.