Bobby Wallace considered himself somewhat a coffee buff because of his daily routine of grinding and brewing. Then he got into the business of great coffee.
An engineering graduate from DeVry, Wallace fell in love with the Keys after previously visiting on a whim, renting a convertible, and driving to Key West.
No stranger to start-ups, Wallace has owned and operated a number of national businesses since 2009. After he sold his most recent company, a fertilizer business, in 2015, he finally relocated.
“I’m a fourth-generation entrepreneur,” he said. “I enjoy building a system and distribution channels for a finished product. That’s fun for me,” said Wallace. “In my office right now, I have about 10 cases of coffee stacked inside. It can be a challenge working from home, so it takes a bit of discipline.”
For this new business, Wallace said the goal is to have a working facility in the Keys roasting and distributing coffee daily. Even without a physical location, Florida Keys Coffee’s high end Peruvian medium roast is still receiving rave reviews.
“Super smooth and great taste,” said Phil Rogers. “Just started my second bag of Florida Keys Coffee. I’m really impressed; a solid first batch.”
Mariners Hospital CEO Rick Freeburg said, ““I loved this new Keys coffee, dark and strong, but not too strong or bitter. I went through the first bag in less than a week; couldn’t stop having a cup.”
The organic gourmet beans are grown by a Peruvian co-op in the Incahuasi Valley region, where, according to Wallace, the high altitude develops a natural sweetness and complexity. Per the South American co-op’s recommendation, Florida Keys Coffee also brought on the expertise of artisan roaster Josef Rousek.
The company is currently looking at introducing a Sumatran blend in 2018. Sumatra, an Island off Indonesia, is home to some of the most flavorful coffee in the world, according to Wallace.
In this coming year, Florida Keys Coffee will start producing five pound bags for commercial use, plans to launch a national campaign, and will introduce K-cups as well.
Florida Keys Coffee can be found locally at the Trading Post in Islamorada. Coffee and apparel are also available online at flkeyscoffee.com. The online shop offers Monroe County residents a 10 percent discount. 12-ounce bags of whole bean are $15.50; ground coffee is $16. Look for Florida Keys Coffee at Christmas in Key Largo on Saturday, Dec. 9 at Key Largo Fisheries.