Ethan, who had an intellectual disability worked alongside Toby for 8 years while at Diedrich Coffee in Irvine, CA. During this time of watching his brother thrive and grow in confidence and sense of value, in earnest Toby felt a conviction to intentionally create a coffee roasting company to employ those who are often overlooked in the workforce.
Eight years later that sense of conviction took on another level of purpose and inspiration when Toby and his wife Cheri, welcomed their second child, Reid, into the world. In the delivery room the doctors shared, “Your son is showing signs of Down Syndrome”. Through tears and resolve they promised each other to move forward on HÆRFEST COFFEE because, “Reid and his friends will need jobs someday”.
Since its inception 20 years ago, and then with Reid’s birth, HÆRFEST has evolved into what it is today with every aspect of the company intentionally created to provide a job for those with disabilities; everything from the artwork on the bags being commissioned by individuals with a disability, to roasting, to grinding, to packaging, delivery, as well as homebased microbusinesses for those unable to work outside of the home.
While recovering from Tommy John surgery he helped a friend open a coffeehouse and fell in love with the industry and community.
Upon release from the Mariners and a few years playing for the Red Sox affiliate (that his grandfather had also played with), he dedicated himself to learning the coffee business from the ground up, literally washing dishes and filling creamer containers. Toby has been fortunate to have worked with some of the coffee industry’s most well respected leaders, with a few being Martin Diedrich and his father Carl Diedrich, Nesim Bohbot, Don Holly, and Carl Mount.
Toby’s industry background is vast; Managing Director, Vice President, Senior Coffee Buyer, Director of Manufacturing, Director of Operations, Director of Quality Assurance, Roast Master, as well as helped It’s A Grind Coffee franchise to over 150 stores nationwide. Toby’s background also includes national conference speaker, lead instructor and industry panelist, Q Grader Certified, Co-Partner in a Co-Op farm in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.
The three C’s represent their employees, their intent, and their cause. The three lines at the bottom represent their son Reids third copy of the 21st chromosome (Trisomy 21, also known as Down Syndrome). These are the roots that keep them grounded in their purpose to intentionally use the HÆRFEST of coffee to create jobs, instill hope, and affirm value while delivering quality coffees from around the world.