HAVERFORD — Brian Niles is selling coffee and he couldn’t be happier.

Niles, a founder of Target X, a college admissions software marketing company, changed direction in 2017 when he started House Cup Coffee Roasters in his Havertown garage.

Niles could be seen on a recent morning roasting a bag of Columbian beans at his new work space on Eagle Road next to the Manoa Fire Station where he has recently expanded.

“l was looking to do something different after 50,” Niles said. “I could have easily started another business in education, but one day as I was walking around Llanerch Country Club, I sat down and thought I really want to do something in jeans and a black shirt, so this is it.”

Niles, who was born in Buffalo, N.Y., said he has always enjoyed coffee. He jokes that as a toddler he would sneak sips while sitting on his mother’s lap.

He graduated from Great Valley High School in Chester County in 1986 and from there went to Albright University. After Albright, he worked in marketing for a Berks County coffee roaster that gave him his first taste of that business, though Niles said coffee on the East Coast wasn’t anywhere near the popular specialty product that it is today.

From that first job, Niles moved into the educational technology field, culminating with Target X, and its more than 100 employees located in Conshohocken and Oakland, Calif.

“This is a very different business but I should be able to apply what I’ve learned at Target X to this business,” Niles said as the aroma of the freshly roasted coffee wafted through the building. “We’re wholesalers, 80 percent of our business is to restaurants, bars and coffee shops.”

Niles said he won’t miss all the travel that his former job entailed and with a 15 month-old child, he his wife Adrienne are enjoying staying local.

Niles, who was certified as a roast master at the Vermont School of Coffee, said coffee does not have to be complicated – freshly roasted coffee, brewed right using the right filtration system, makes a difference.

“We’re local - it doesn’t get any fresher,” Niles said. “And we will deliver it to you locally.”

Starbucks, which is just up the street, is not much of a concern for House Cup. The competition comes from large wholesale companies such as Sysco, which sells multiple product lines to area restaurants. Niles said one of their largest customers is Rosie’s in the Villanova train station.

“I think there is a lot of opportunity for restaurants to improve their coffee,” Niles said. “They spend so much time coming up with recipes, then serve a bad cup of coffee at the end of the meal.”

The job of a roaster is to select the right beans for a good blend of coffee. He workers with brokers, buying 130 pound bags typically from five different countries, Columbia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ethiopia and India. Much like wine, different farms can produce different coffee flavors, Niles said.

The roasting is done on a 30 pound Diedrich coffee roaster and usually takes 11-15 minutes per batch. Typically the different country’s beans are roasted separately then blended after roasting.

“You’ve got to have a good decaf. I don’t think you should sacrifice the taste,” Niles said. House Cup offers a decaffeinated coffee from Brazil.

Sales to the public are offered through their website, as well as a subscription service which will bring you 2 bags every two weeks.

“I’m trying to help people choose better coffee,” said Niles “I love having people come in and put together a blend that is just theirs.”

One person looking for their own blend is Hector Villanueva of Havertown who stopped by House Cup on a recent morning and tried a nitro cold brew. A nitro coffee is a cold coffee infused with compressed nitrogen and served from a tap.

“This is fantastic. I’m just started getting into coffee after having baby number two.” Villanueva said as he peppered Niles with questions about coffee roasting. “I think this is great everyone is looking for a new way of coffee. This is the smoothest nitro I’ve found.”

In addition to the nitro coffee, Niles has experimented with a number of coffee blended drinks including a seasonal cocktail, single serving K-cups that are recyclable and coffees aged in whiskey barrels.

“I like to play around but I’m focused on the wholesale,” said Niles. Even so, House Cup Coffee welcomes visitors Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8 to 10 a.m. “Bring a mug.”

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