Business

Paso’s Spearhead Coffee lands its biggest client yet: Blackhorse in SLO

Spearhead Coffee of Paso Robles expands its specialty coffee business

Spearhead Coffee in Paso Robles, one of the few specialty coffee roasters in the North County, has been expanding its wholesale business in the San Luis Obispo County area. In early 2017, Spearhead landed its biggest wholesale client yet: Blackhor
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Spearhead Coffee in Paso Robles, one of the few specialty coffee roasters in the North County, has been expanding its wholesale business in the San Luis Obispo County area. In early 2017, Spearhead landed its biggest wholesale client yet: Blackhor

More than two years after opening Spearhead Coffee cafe and roasting company in downtown Paso Robles, co-owners Jeremy Sizemore and Matt Klomp have landed their biggest wholesale client.

Blackhorse Espresso and Bakery in San Luis Obispo will use only the Spearhead brand for its drip coffee and espresso drinks at its four locations starting Friday.

Spearhead, at 619 12th St., is in the midst of expanding its wholesale business — about 30 restaurants, shops and cafes carry its beans or sell cups of Spearhead java.

“It’s just been really fun,” Sizemore said. “We’ve been warmly welcomed by the Central Coast.”

Sizemore, a San Luis Obispo County native, runs Spearhead’s roasting operation. He said the plan has been to grow in three phases — renovating Spearhead’s 2,700-square-foot cafe, building up the eatery and its brand, and expanding its wholesale coffee business.

The company is now in that last phase — building up its wholesale business, Sizemore said: “We’re making a slow transition.” Cafe sales have at least doubled since last year, and wholesale business has tripled, he said.

We’re trying to up our game, and we’re trying to up it with what we feel is a really good product.

Tom Brown, Blackhorse Espresso and Bakery owner

Cafe purchases continue to account for 80 percent of Spearhead’s business, Sizemore said. The roaster’s beans are sold all over the Central Coast, in addition to a couple of locations in Bakersfield and San Jose.

Spearhead also got a boost when Food Network’s website featured the cafe in its “Coffee Talk: Where to Find Great Cups Across the Country” slideshow last year. Sizemore declined to provide financial information about Spearhead’s profits or growth.

The cafe and roaster is carving out a niche in the specialty coffee market, which — similar to specialty wines — relies on coffee beans grown in a specific climate using certain techniques. They’re also specially roasted to bring out certain flavors. Spearhead is especially invested in making sure its coffees are ethically sourced, so those who grow and harvest the beans are treated well, Sizemore said.

“We really care about our products,” he said. “People can sense that we do genuinely care about our local and global communities.”

Blackhorse began serving Spearhead coffee along with its traditional blend in the morning in January. But starting Friday, the cafes will start pouring a Blackhorse blend that Sizemore specially roasted, along with another Spearhead variety.

Tom Brown, Blackhorse’s owner, said he decided to make the switch to Spearhead out of a desire to serve locally-roasted coffee, calling Sizemore “the best roaster in the county, as far as I can tell.”

“We’re trying to up our game, and we’re trying to up it with what we feel is a really good product,” Brown said.

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseyholden27

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