Meet our roaster
Just a few weeks ago we launched our House Blend and Espresso Roast coffees, and we’re giddy about it like Santa Claus on Christmas afternoon. Have you opened your first bag of Espresso Roast beans? Have you tasted your first cup of House Blend? If you have, we hope you agree that Urban Alchemy small batch coffees are full of personality and flavor (and if you haven’t tried them yet, see footnote.)
Now we’d like to introduce you to the amazing family that’s helping us craft the perfect blends that are -- and will be -- part of the Urban Alchemy collection.
I first met the Noe family in 2016 (thank you, Doug and Mary), and I was immediately drawn to their sincerity, goodness and incredible expertise. Honestly, I don’t think it’s an overstatement to call them coffee aficionados. Don, Kathy and their son Kevin have been passionate about coffee for a long time, and with genuine enthusiasm they not only gave me the lay of the land but guided me on developing my roadmap for bringing the first local coffee and wine bar (your favorite new living room) to Arlington.
The Noe’s are amazing partners. Actually, partner sounds funny to me. They’re more like close family friends. Since the day we met, they’ve graciously mentored me, offering their time and craftsmanship to ensure that Urban Alchemy provides not only the best tasting coffee but a great coffee experience. Whether we’re shipping our coffee directly to you, or you’re enjoying a cup at Sugar Bee Sweets, or eventually, when we have the opportunity to serve you at our own place, the Noe’s will be a part of every cup, making certain that the quality and freshness you experience now will consistently exceed your expectations in the future.
Don, Kathy and Kevin are an important part of who we are at Urban Alchemy, and we’re so thankful for their continued guidance and deepening friendship. So you can get to know them better, too, we asked Don to share more of their story:
UA: Metro Coffee Grouppe, Inc. is a family business. You're the President, your wife Kathy is the V.P., and your son Kevin is the Operations Manager. But you haven’t always been in the coffee biz. What did you do before?
DON: I worked for a restaurant company for 15 years, starting as a store manager and eventually worked my way up to COO.
UA: So, why coffee and tea? What got you into this market?
DON: We had an opportunity to get into the retail business and jumped all over it. Coffee and tea were relatively untapped markets in DFW at the time.
UA: Was Coffee Haus your first foray into the coffee business?
DON: Yes. I knew very little about the industry prior to Coffee Haus. We started in 1987 in Arlington with a 1000-square-foot retail shop in Lincoln Square. In 1992, we expanded the shop and began roasting our own coffee. At the time, we were the only espresso bar in Arlington and possibly Tarrant county. We opened a second location in Ft. Worth's Sundance Square in 1994, and things really took off from there. We opened a third location in Dallas off Hillcrest and seven locations scattered through DFW Airport.
UA: What led you from the coffee retail side into brewing and distribution?
DON: With the expansion of the retail business, we really needed more roasting capacity. So, we bought Metro at the end of '93.
UA: How has Metro Coffee continued to be so successful in responding to changing consumer demand? Is it about your suppliers, your blends, your distribution strategies?
DON: Yes, I'd say all three of those are key elements. The long-standing relationships we have with not only our suppliers but our customer base have helped us stay in touch with what the DFW market is demanding. We’ve been fortunate to have basically the same suppliers for almost 30 years now. We really specialize in custom products, so the fact that our customers have coffee or tea blends that no one else has helps not only to build the relationship with our clients, but also helps them build the relationship with the end consumer. It's still very much a relationship industry, just as it was in the '80s.
UA: What do you enjoy the most about the work you do today?
DON: Helping people like you and Nicole build their business is extremely gratifying. It's always inspiring to see people chasing after their dreams and to be a small part of that. It makes it all worthwhile.
UA: We are so blessed to be working with you!
DON: Tony, you’ve been awesome to work with. Your passion for Arlington has obviously been good for the community, and your commitment to success tells me that you have what it takes. You really spend the time necessary to understand the in's and out's of every detail. We’re really looking forward to being in Arlington and partnering with you, sharing similar goals to those that we had in 1987 when we first opened Coffee Haus: creating a place to go where you can hang out and really connect with other members of the community over a great cup of coffee.
Footnote: Visit our online Shop to purchase one- or five-pound bags of our House Blend or Espresso Roast beans. Specify whole or ground beans. Other varieties including decaf coming soon.