With one deep breath, the fruity citrus aroma of the coffee ignites your senses. The warmth of the mug on your palms and the steam rising from the cup take you to a pleasant memory. The noise around you begins to fade, and the world seems to stop for a second. As you take the first sip, a blend of flavor dances across your taste buds, and you ask yourself: What makes the perfect cup of coffee?
Kerry Mayfield, who earned a doctorate in agricultural and horticultural plant breeding from Texas A&M in 2011, spent a good portion of his career studying and researching a variety of crops throughout the state of Texas. However, a new passion led to a different business opportunity.
In April 2018, he founded Tierras Planas Roasters and transitioned into a full-time coffee roasting career an occupation that started as a personal interest.
“My roasting started because we had terrible coffee at the office,” Mayfield said. “So, that’s what really started the personal side of roasting; I just wanted a better cup of coffee.”
So, Mayfield purchased his first coffee roaster and begin learning how to make the perfect cup.
Mayfield found himself having to roast beans one to two times a week to share with family or friends.
“I was pulling out almost two pounds of coffee,” Mayfield explained, “and I was like, ‘I can spread that out and everybody can have great coffee for a while.’ Then it started snowballing.”
In April 2018, Mayfield began marketing his products through face-to-face retail at the Wolfforth Farmers Market, an event where he has continued to develop relationships and encounter new clients every Saturday.
Then, in December of that year, Mayfield attended the Coffee Connection, a networking event hosted by the Texas Tech Club. Although out of his comfort zone, Mayfield introduced himself and his business to the group. With a humble smile, Mayfield recalled the marketing director of the event approached him about needing better coffee. This was Mayfield’s first commercial account.
Getting in front of crowds did not come naturally to Mayfield, yet when life started to unfold, he did not shy away from the challenge as a change in profession presented itself.
“The Lord said, ‘No, no, this is your time to start [Tierras Planas Roasters],’” Mayfield said. “So we started it.”
Someone who once spent hours in research and development now devotes his time gathering in community at networking events and meetings.
Although getting to drink phenomenal coffee daily is a high point of his job, Mayfield’s passion focuses on the chance to impact others.
“It’s all about community,” he emphasized. “Jesus was about bringing people together.”
A personal interest for better coffee revealed a calling to meet and develop relationships with people in the community.
“I just wanted something that would hopefully pull people together to where they can sit down and have a conversation about life,” Mayfield said. “What life is for that person, I have no idea.”
Amy Wood is CEO of Flint Avenue Marketing and works with Mayfield on Tierras Planas Roasters marketing efforts.
“Kerry and I met through a mutual acquaintance at the Chamber of Commerce,” Wood said. “It was a referral.”
Both Mayfield and Wood are members of the Lubbock Small Business Network. At almost every gathering, ribbon cutting or meeting, this group generally ends up congregating around Mayfield’s truck for a cup of coffee, Wood shared.
“Kerry almost always has a pot of coffee in his truck,” Wood said in an astonished manner. “I don’t mean like a cane pot, I mean, he actually has brewed coffee he carries around with him in his truck.”
Wood said Mayfield’s cup of coffee is a tool to build community and start conversations.
“[The Mayfield’s] wanted to promote … having a cup of coffee and a conversation,” Wood said, “and how important it is to just enjoy that moment.”
“It’s all about community.”
Mayfield said regardless of how his coffee gets into someone’s cup, he hopes it will somehow have an impact.
“Hopefully, if they’re having a great day, it adds to it,” Mayfield said. “Hopefully, if they’re having a bad day, it gives them maybe a bright spot, maybe a level of comfort, maybe a memory.”
Almost 26 years ago, coffee provided Mayfield with the same comfort and memories he now hopes to provide to others. After Mayfield’s grandfather passed, he recalled having a conversation with friends of his grandparents. He said one couple always felt welcomed at his grandparents’ house because there was always a cup of coffee there for them.
As Mayfield reflected on the conversation he had with the couple, he developed a new perspective on coffee.
“And it’s a different culture now,” Mayfield said. “But it’s still the same thing; it’s all about community and what we can use to bring people together.”
Mayfield said some people use a cup of coffee, others use a glass of beer, whiskey or scotch.
“These things, when used properly, are all about community, all about bringing people together for some reason,” Mayfield said. “For, hopefully, building each other up on some levels.”
What makes the perfect cup of coffee?
“It’s all about the person holding the cup.”