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Coffee and Community

A Cup with Kerry

Kerry Mayfield at the Wolfforth Farmers Market
Tierras Planas Roasters' Founder and Owner, Kerry Mayfield, eagerly awaits the opportunity to greet and engage with customers at the Wolfforth Farmers Market.

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? 

The Founder

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.

Snowballing

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.”

Kerry Mayfield talks with potential client at the Wolfforth Farmers Market
The perfect cup depends on what peaks clients’ taste buds, explained Kerry Mayfield founder and owner of Tierras Planas Roasters. These preferences are what he works to identity when talking with clients.

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. 

The Pour

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.” 

Tierras Planas Roasters togo coffee cup
Mayfield has many talents when it comes to coffee. He not only roasts his one coffee but also makes lattes, expressos, and pour-overs for clients.

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.”

 Reflecting 

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.”

A Greater Purpose: Thinking globally, acting locally.

The Williams family
Russell and Julia Williams with son Whitaker in Purpose Coffee Co. shop.

A mission team, composed of eight, travel in a country that experiences conditions most cannot imagine. They arrive to the sight of kids happily playing with a soccer ball in wet and muddy dirt. The kids are excited to see the mission group who has travelled to paint their home, an orphanage. The excitement on the kids’ faces make them forget the conditions and they truly understand the reason they are there: to make life better for those less fortunate.

“It’s like we see, you know, just the ways that people can pour into children and the difference that makes for their future.”

Julia Williams

Russell and Julia Williams of Dalhart, Texas, are more than just farmers and coffee shop owners. In fact, the story of their life together began in Washington D.C, where they were both working at the time.

Russell is originally from Farwell, Texas, where he grew up on the family farm. Upon graduating from Texas Tech University in 2002, Russell moved to Washington D.C. where he worked for the House Agriculture Committee, worked for a U.S. Senator, and later was a lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau Association.

Julia grew up in Dripping Springs, Texas, and graduated from Texas Christian University. After majoring in political science, Julia also moved to Washington D.C. where she worked for the National Association for Federally Impacted Schools and a nonprofit organization that focused on healthcare in Africa.

In 2010, the couple got married and headed back to Texas to continue farming. The farm expanded to Dalhart, so Russell and Julia made the move to take on the new farm. To adjust to life in a new community, they looked to their faith to get involved. Russell said through their church they were able to find a new passion.

“We were in a new community,” Russell said. “And we started getting involved with churches when we found a church we liked.”

When their pastor approached them about a program that raises money for missions using coffee as a source of funding, they could not pass it up. Julia said she had always wanted to own and run a coffee shop of her own but did not know what that would look like.

“There was my background of wanting a coffee shop,” Julia said, “so we jumped all over the project, helped launch it, and then have carried it forward since then.”

It was a mission trip to Thailand that sealed their passion to create sustainable funding for child wellness. The mission trip took them to several orphanages that provide shelter, clothes, food, education and so much more to children who were left with nothing.

Julia Williams on the mission trip.
Julia Williams and one of the kids she met on the mission trip to Thailand.

“It was eye opening just to see these kids happy and playing,” Russel said, “just loving life and being happy to have, you know, this group of people who cared about them that much.”

In 2015, after their mission trip, they began roasting coffee sourced from Thailand. A year later, in September 2016, they opened a coffee shop in Dalhart. The coffee company was named Purpose Coffee Co., which represented their mission.

“It can mean a number of different things to different people,” Russell said.

They sell their coffee to churches and businesses, allowing those groups to sell the coffee to serve as a greater purpose in the community. For example, a special blend named Texas Strong was developed and sold to aide those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“We’ll do large orders for church groups,” Russell said, “and we allow them to sell our coffee as long as it has an impact in the community.”

The Williams said they wanted to focus on child wellness organizations because they had been exposed to the large amounts of poverty in other parts of the world. They said it was important to them to provide sources of sustainability in other countries, especially to children. The Williams said they were experiencing infertility struggles during this endeavor, but felt like they were always meant to have and help kids.

“We both felt like we were called to have kids and maybe it wasn’t our own kids but maybe it was helping kids through Purpose Coffee,” Julia said.

The Williams were blessed with their son, Whitaker, in 2016, the same year they opened the Purpose Coffee Co. store front.

“It’s kind of like we’ve been raising our child and the coffee shop at the same time,” Julia said.

Julia said becoming parents helped them understand the impact people can truly have on a child’s life.

“It’s like we see, you know, just the ways that people can pour into children and the difference that makes for their future,” Julia said.

Russell said it is challenging to be a full-time famer and small business owner. They said there is not a lot of balance between the two ventures, but he stays focused on the purpose that fuels their passion.

“We just have to keep our eye on what the purpose is and why we’re doing it” Russell said. “It’s a passion knowing that I’m putting something that God gave me to use to help other people.”

Looking to the future, the Williams said they would like to see more growth in partnerships and wholesales to businesses that want to share a greater purpose.

“It’s so special to have these other businesses see our model and want to duplicate that all around the country,” Julia said. “The purpose has always been the primary thing and the coffee is kind of secondary.”

The Williams said it has always been about thinking globally and acting locally. They said they want to continue to inspire others through Purpose Coffee Co., and they hope to see more people impassioned by global causes not just child wellness.

Russell on the mission trip.
Once a Red Raider, always a Red Raider. Russell taught the kids how to do a classic Texas Tech guns up.
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