Livermore, California is a town of just under 90,000 people nestled between California's Central Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. The town is home to Livermore Lawrence National Laboratory as well as the California site for Sandia National Laboratories which is headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The town has grown significantly over the last 15 years as Bay Area residents continue moving eastward for access to more affordable housing as well as for the attraction of a family-driven community.
Additionally, there are numerous vineyards in the hills around the area, including Halvorsen Family Vineyards, ran by the parents of Paul Halvorsen, owner of Story Coffee Co.
Paul Halvorsen's entrance into coffee began at Peet's Coffee & Tea. His time there and influence from individuals like specialty coffee veteran, Tony Serrano, led to his long-term interest in coffee. Paul's first break into specialty coffee was at Remedy in Oakland, which was a Ritual Coffee Roaster's account.
Around that same time, Verve Coffee Roasters was beginning to expand throughout Santa Cruz, California and was looking for store managers to oversee their planned new locations. Paul was brought on as the manager of Verve's flagship retail location on Pacific Street in downtown Santa Cruz.
Paul and his family moved to Santa Cruz and worked with Verve for four and a half years. I met Paul during this time at the 2013 Southwest Regional Barista Competition which was hosted that year by Verve Coffee Roasters in the Rittenhouse Building, just down the street from Verve's Pacific Street Cafe'.
After spending the four and a half years with Verve, Paul had the opportunity to head up the install of a specialty coffee bar inside the Oakland Headquarters of VSCO. That job moved Paul's family back up into the Tri-Valley Area, with the end goal in mind of starting their own coffee business.
Story Coffee opened for business in April 2016 in the Livermore Farmer's Market and has since expanded into a weekend pop-up shop in the Bankhead Theatre.
The vision behind Story Coffee is not just to offer the area a craft coffee experience but also to create a community-minded place for people to gather in a family-centered town.
As Paul and his family laid out plans to open their own coffee business, they chose to once again, connect with Verve Coffee Roasters. Halvorsen says that decision was a no-brainer. "From a product stand-point, having good coffee is non-negotiable for starting a business. What Verve is about and the type of space and experience that they create is really similar to the feel that we are going for to begin with."
Halvorsen's familiarity with Verve's coffee program also eliminated a lot of work in having to become acquainted with another roaster's approach to coffee and various offerings. Paul says that he currently has no plans to roast coffee himself, but rather he believes Story Coffee can grow in a unique way with Verve.
If you find yourself passing through the Livermore area, be sure to check out Story Coffee Company.
Story Coffee Company is open at the following times and locations:
Friday and Saturday 9am to 4pm @ Bankhead Theater - 2400 First Street in Livermore, CA 94551
Sunday 10am to 2pm @ Livermore Farmer's Market - 2133 3rd Street Livermore, Ca 94551