A ritual is not only a gesture of hospitality and reassurance, but a celebration of a break in routine, a moment when the human drive for survival lets up and people can simply be together. –Coffee Review
I have a special little spot in downtown Wooster, Ohio, that I consider “my place.” When I was pregnant with Beatrice, I would go there almost weekly for the coffee and delicious food. At the time, it was Oak Grove Eatery, a wonderful little farm-to-table style eatery with some of the best food I’ve ever had. The owners, Eric and Elizabeth (Liz) Lloyd, recently switched things up a bit and the one time eatery is now a lovely little coffee shop and coffee roasting company. Although I will forever miss their homemade, kimchi veggie burger and basically everything on their breakfast menu, I’m so happy the Lloyds have given Wooster this little gem of a coffee house.
Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Liz to talk about the Sure House story and came away with a new appreciation and admiration for this family, their business, and their story. Enjoy.
During Liz and Eric’s last year as students at the College of Wooster, the couple conducted a little experiment. They wanted to give roasting their own coffee beans a try, but didn’t have an actual coffee roaster. What they did have – an air pop corn popper – seemed to be the next best thing.
“And, did it work?” I asked, surprised by their choice in equipment.
“It did!” Liz nodded. “It was delicious. We’ve always loved coffee, but this was better than anything we had ever tasted. We knew we wanted other people to experience it.”
When we started roasting our own coffee, we thought ‘People don’t know what they’re missing.’ -Elizabeth Lloyd
Soon after, the couple bought a 1 lb roaster and began roasting and selling beans to friends and family. In 2013, their operation grew enough that they needed to upgrade to a 2 lb roaster. Now, with the opening of Sure House Coffee Roasting Co, they are using a 6 lb roaster but hope that yet another upgrade is in their near future.
Like the early, air pop corn popper days, Sure House exclusively air roasts their beans. But the couple has brought their roasting company a long ways since then. They currently roast 150-200 lbs of beans a week, but they expect that number to be closer to 500 lbs before too long.
Liz, who started baking at the age of 12, learning her grandmother’s famous chocolate chip cookie recipe, and Eric, a classically trained chef who started cooking at the age of 15, have a “really deep love for food, the slow food movement, and for consuming good food.”
For the Lloyds, it’s not just about the final product. It’s the whole experience from beginning to end. From how the food or coffee beans were grown and produced, to how it ends up in front of the customer.
We try to think about the whole story. -Elizabeth Lloyd
The value of story is one thing that make Sure House’s location in Historic Downtown Wooster so special.
“Wooster has a really nice community and it’s nice to see what all is happening downtown, like the farmer’s markets,” Liz noted. “It’s nice to see the recognition of farmers, of knowing your food. Living in a place that’s doing that is just amazing.”
Although Sure House doesn’t offer a sit down menu, they always have several baked goods for sale, baked fresh by Liz. One of the most popular – and unusual – treats that they offer is the cretzel. The cretzel is a traditional crescent on the inside with a traditional Bavarian pretzel finish on the outside. It’s buttery and flakey and salty and crispy all in the same bite. It’s amazing, and you should definitely try it.
“A lot of our baked goods have coffee in them,”Liz pointed out. “Everything revolves around coffee.”
Liz’s favorite roast right now is the Papa New Guinea, which she describes as a “beautiful, creamy light roast with a low acidity that is perfect first thing in the morning.” Eric tends towards dark roasts, and prefers the Sumatra (which is my favorite as well). Liz recommends ordering your coffee as a pour over.
Sure House is a story about coffee, of course, and it’s a story about good food – yes, but it’s also a story about family and community. What started out as a little pre-college graduation experiment has turned into a full fledged family business.
The Lloyd’s have five children whom they homeschool, and the daily operation of Sure House is a family affair.
“One of us usually wakes up to open, then we switch mid day. All our kids come down to the shop after we’ve closed for the day and we roast together.
We want to teach our kids that you can do what you love. -Elizabeth Lloyd
The kids help us cook at home. They know the types of coffee. They ask ‘Can we go to the shop?’ And of course, they are our baking taste testers,” said Liz.
When the Lloyds decided to focus solely on coffee roasting, they wanted to choose a name that would help represent their story. Eric’s mom suggested the name Sure House, inspired by the verse from I Kings 11:38 –
And if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you. ESV
“That verse is a promise,” Liz explained. “And we claimed it.”
For the Lloyd family, Sure House Coffee Roasting Company is a chance for them to live out their passions together as a family, in a community they love. Sure House is the next page in this sweet little family’s story of love, of food, and of course -coffee.
Sure House, is a sure thing.
Sure House is located at:
Hours of operation:
Mon-Fri: 7:30-2:00 PM
Sat: 7:30-5:00 PM