Nowadays, consumers want their products to be more organic, locally grown, gluten-free and cage-free ... but what about acid-free?
That's a new one.
According to the owners, Tucson-based Tyler's Coffee is making the first acid-free coffee in the world—and the company has quickly been making a name for itself.
The coffee company was developed by, and named after, 21-year-old entrepreneur Tyler Ornstein, who says he first got a taste for the business in 2004 while selling bags of coffee door-to-door via bicycle. Later, with the help and technology of his father's Phoenix-based roastery, he created Tyler's Coffee in 2007 at the age of 17.
His young age affords him the technological experience that some older businessmen don't have. Along with his business partner, Aaron Khan (who serves as the company's president), he manages social-media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to promote sales. The company is almost exclusively focused on online sales.
"Because we are very innovative and technological ... we like to consider ourselves the Apple of the coffee industry," says Khan.
Ornstein jokingly attributes the company's online success to his iPhone and iPad, which he uses to present a PowerPoint presentation about Tyler's Coffee.
But the claim to fame of the self-proclaimed "Apple fan boys" isn't social media; what makes Tyler's Coffee unique is the first-of-its-kind "z-roasting" process, which creates coffee that is almost completely acid-free.
Ornstein compared the process to the workings of a paintball gun: Much like loading paintballs into a gun's hopper, the beans are loaded into a hot-air-pressure tube that roasts all of the beans precisely, every time, without the use of fire.
"The computer roasts it electronically," says Ornstein, "so there is no room for human error."
The result is a rich and bold coffee that is dark but naturally sweet and not shy on caffeine.
Khan and Ornstein note that the brew is perfect for consumers who would like to drink coffee, but have issues such as digestion problems or acid reflux.
The coffee also caters to younger coffee-drinkers who may not be concerned with health just yet—because Tyler's Coffee doesn't erode the enamel on one's teeth.
"Even if you don't care about your stomach ... you care about your teeth, don't you?" asks Khan.
The company doesn't have its own café, but is featured as the house brew at Elle Wine Bistro on Campbell Avenue. At Elle, servers bring a piping-hot French press to the table and prepare the coffee fresh.
"We like to think of ourselves as posh, upscale, classy, refined," says Khan. He noted that Tyler's Coffee is best when served from a French press, because it preserves the natural oils and rich flavor.
Of course, each person has his or her own taste preferences when it comes to java, much like beer aficionados have taste preferences when it comes to microbrews.
"That's kind of what we are. ... We are a micro-roastery," Ornstein says. "We're geared toward people who don't want the common, less-quality coffee."
In addition to Elle Wine Bistro, Tyler's Coffee is sold at Java Edge and AJ's Fine Foods.