Lincoln, Mont. In the coffee aisles of grocery stores across western Montana, there are plenty of options, but in recent years, a local roaster has been looking to make its name out for what they do right and how they do it.
Valler Coffee is located on Lincoln’s east side, where Jason Valler and his family try to set up their morning routine for Montana beans.
But why Lincoln?
“We love being in Lincoln. We love being in the woods, we love having kids here, we love being able, like — we’re outdoor people, we love hunting and fishing, playing and staying in nature, you know, as much as we are,” he said. Valer.
Although Lincoln has its positives about the Vallers, they make it difficult to operate.
“Doing any kind of business like that in Lincoln, the key is the logistics is really tough. Everything, like I mentioned, from bringing in grain and equipment here, to getting the product out, you know? We’ve basically been able to source and become — We’re really good at getting things here.” Instead of shipping beans directly here, we go to Missoula and collect our beans from shipping stations. So it all got a lot more complicated, you know, doing it here.”
Faller noted that there would certainly be benefits to moving his business to a larger area with a more robust shipping network, but with his business located nearly 5,000 feet above sea level, there is a greater benefit to his product.
“I think that’s what gave us our distinct flavor and profiles, a little bit about location and height because those — it’s about you know, just like when you bake a cake, you know? There are different instructions for heights and things,” Valere said. “I think that happens a lot with Beans.” “I hate moving and going somewhere else. I don’t know what will happen with all of our products and all of our products. We may lose that special advantage that we have and what we have created for the market.”
While the science behind coffee growing and roasting at higher altitudes is still unknown, coffee growers and roasters claim that producing their produce at higher altitudes results in a better, smoother cup of coffee.
Though, before Valler became the man behind the beans, Valler Coffee got its start like most small businesses: small and budget.
“We had a small sandwich and ice cream shop here in Lincoln, circa 2012 and 2013 and did that for a few years. And then only with getting busy with family, work and things like that, did we know we wanted to move to an area where the whole family could work together on something As we were ordering some local Montana coffee and fell in love, we ended up getting a mini barbecue roaster and some beans from some – specialty beans from different places around the country to try and we ended up kind of smoking ourselves outside of that little unit. My wife was upset with me because we would be–she’d bake bread and I’d fill the room with smoke and try to learn how to roast coffee.”
Though, it was in this small shop that Valler Coffee started brewing. Despite the limited space and limited ventilation, Waller knew he would have to move the barbecue elsewhere.
“We ended up getting a little gal knife maker’s studio. We swapped in for a new roof in her garage. That was our push. We replaced it and we converted it into a coffee roaster,” Waller said with a chuckle. She’s doing really well.”
Now, Valler has two professional-quality roasters, much better aeration, and a large filling station for his coffee production. Besides the roasting room, there is a storefront where travelers and customers alike can formerly have a cup of coffee and many other items. For now, the storefront is closed so that Valler and his family can focus on bringing Valler Coffee to various parts of Montana.
“You’ve got a lot of machines running in the toasters, that’s going to have a coffee shop and you’re going to have, you know, a coffee shop of sorts and we’ve been doing that for a while. Montana, you probably know, is very dependent on tourism, you know? And so what we want to do Its about innovating where we’re not – we’re not on that tourism train. It’s creating a following of customers and people who love coffee and get the coffee experience, that you’ll buy all year long and really focus on the people of Montana, not the tourists. “I want to make the biggest,” Faller said. As many people in Montana as possible drink our coffee, as do the tourists, but we really want to be Montana coffee.”
Whether it’s a pop-up in a park or a farmer’s market, Faller says they are committed to this vision of becoming Montana coffee.
“We try to go out to where people are, at farmers markets, or being in, or even in national parks and things, as often as we can get to places to get them to try this coffee and see their experience because it’s a lot of fun. We see it all the time. I love serving Coffee is for the people, and we go out to where they are.’ said Faller.
Despite Montana being the fourth largest state in the United States, Faller says it’s certainly a challenge to expand without compromising the quality of their products.
“What we’ve really focused on is roasting, and then having the logistics and the stuff to get people that cup of coffee within three days of the roasting being completed. And that’s when it’s really at its peak. That’s when the beans run out of gas and are really tasty and good, that’s it,” Valer said. Our big goal.” “The biggest challenge for us will be how far we can reach people and still get them that really delicious cup of coffee. That’s why we’re really focused on our area in western and central Montana, and we’ll kind of see how far that goes.”
Faller knows his operation is still relatively new, but the audience’s reactions make him feel like he’s on the right track.
“We have people leaving notes on our cars, because we know, we have ‘Falaire Coffee’ on the vehicles. You know, ‘I love your coffee.’ My wife had someone in Missoula follow her into the parking lot. She was a little nervous. She had her kids with her, and this followed her.” The man, and got off his truck and knocked on her window and it cracked kind of a little and said, ‘My son and I have seen your coffee, and I said smooth, dark, never bitter: Valler Legendary Coffee,’ and he said, ‘We call bologna on that and so we bought it and made a cup and it was It was really dark and it wasn’t bitter. And then we did it twice as hard and it wasn’t a bitter and unbelievable job well done,” Valler said with a laugh, and drove off. “We just love the little things like that, that we get from people and feedback and that just tells us we’re doing it right.”