Coffee Talk With Derek Bromley
Archer and his hosts are buzzed to be partnering with Ohm Coffee Roasters — “a small but hard-rocking startup based in Napa, California.” Founder Derek Bromley brings his coffee bar to Charlie Palmer Steak inside Archer Hotel Napa, which has quickly become a guest (and staff) favorite. Here, Bromley gives us a taste of the history of Ohm and some insight into what makes this coffee such a special pour.
Archer: What’s your story — how did you find your way to your current state of coffee bliss?
Derek: I was born and raised in Philadelphia and lived in New York. Working as a beverage director and sommelier for acclaimed NYC restaurateur Drew Nieporent at Tribeca Grill, Nobu, Montrachet and City Wine & Cigar Co., I was exposed to a Francophile style of cooking. I left to start a dot-com in the ’90s that brought wine, beer and spirits to wholesale businesses — a great experience for a 20-something to learn how to develop a company from the ground up.
I then moved to California, working as a brand manager and delving into sales and marketing for such brands as Domaine Chandon, Treasury Wine Estates and The Hess Collection Winery.
These positions allowed me to travel frequently (coffee became a necessity) and, in doing so, I became a coffee geek. I began looking for coffee places that had high-end machines and followed the process of understanding this craft category. I learned that small adjustments make the difference between an OK product and a transcendental product — experiencing Blue Bottle cappuccino was the light switch for me.
I got married in 2007 and wanted to be more in control of my own destiny. So, I bought an espresso machine and started home roasting.
Archer: How did you come up with the name “OHM Coffee Roasters”?
Derek: A lot of folks assume it has to do with yoga, but I’m a guitar player, so ohm to me refers to a measure of electrical resistance — something electrified and amplified. Our blends are named after guitar amplifiers: Full Stack, Half Stack, Tweed, Handwired. These monikers also loosely translate into wine styles.
Archer: What’s your coffee philosophy?
Derek: Two things are musts for Ohm: approachability — sharing good stuff with others, having fun — and keeping the focus on balance — where the bean came from, that you can taste it in the cup, while also maintaining some of the natural sugars that tend to get lost in dark roasting. We want to keep the origin clear while bringing out the character of the beans.
And rather than single origins, we focus on blends with enough roast time to fully develop the natural sugars but not so much as to overshadow each bean’s original character. We also put a high value on the experience of tasting and cupping (the formal version of tasting — a multistep process in which the beans and experience are evaluated).
Archer: Keep on truckin’ — what’s great about your coffee truck?
Derek: It has a grass roots feel while offering a retail presence. We first showed up at the 2016 Napa Farmers’ Market, and it singlehandedly put us on the map. Our truck takes equipment and baristas to where things are happening. And it’s upscale enough to look like it belongs at a higher-end winery. We’ve taken it to weddings, winemaker events, BottleRock — where we served about 1,000 drinks a day. Our truck is ideal for events with anywhere from 10 to 40,000 people.
We also partner with several locations throughout the area. Ohm is the house coffee at Monday Bakery and at both Oakville Grocery locations. You can also find our beans at a growing list of specialty grocers and cafes:
- Napa Farmers Market
- Whole Foods in Napa, Sonoma and Santa Rosa
- Browns Valley Market
- Atelier Fine Foods & Catering
- Jax White Mule Diner
- Kelly’s Filling Station and Wine Shop
- Kivelstadt Cellars Eatery
- La Taberna
- The Market at Silverado Resort
- Break rooms of wineries and offices throughout wine country
Archer: Can you speak to your subscriptions?
Derek: Subscriptions are a critical piece of the puzzle. Direct-to-consumer can be a huge part of the profit. Our clients can choose any interval, from a weekly subscription to every four or five months); they can choose any number of bags and can subscribe to one blend or a Rollin’ Stone — they receive something different in every shipment. Rollin’ Stone is our largest subscription.
We roast on Mondays and ship out the bags Monday night — super-fresh beans arrive at your door. And our website makes it super easy to get set up for coffee subscriptions.
Archer: In addition to your rockin’ coffee, what else do you offer?
Derek: Along with a cool trucker cap and Ohm guitar picks, we’ve developed a really great coffee rub. It’s made with decaf that highlights the coffee flavor without the caffeine, plus ancho chile powder and a proprietary blend of spices that strike a balance between sweet and savory. It brings out the best in steaks, chops, ribs and brisket. I’ve also heard of folks adding it to salmon. Ohm Coffee is always a good idea for corporate gifting and for the holidays, and we can customize the bags.
Archer: Anything else we should know about Ohm?
Derek: As a matter of fact, yes! Like I mentioned earlier, Ohm relates to music. I’m a guitar player and am part of Mama Said, a female-fronted new classic rock band inspired by the classic rock of the late ’70s, early ’80s and the revival classic rock of the early ’90s. We’re on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube. And unsurprisingly, our music sounds even better with a steaming cup of Ohm in hand. We’re grateful for the support.