Ryan Bros. Coffee started with a simple goal—to provide authentic, locally produced, fresh flavors that aren't mass-produced. Owners Harry '92, Carmine '93 and Tom Ryan have done just that.
"We make our own teas, coffees, frappe powders, cocoas; we do it all right here in San Diego," Harry Ryan said.
The brothers own two coffee shops in San Diego and San Marcos, and a Temecula location will open soon. They also supply coffee to a number of hotels and restaurants, including The Lodge at Torrey Pines and Karl Strauss Restaurants.
"To literally begin our business at our alma mater was truly special."
The project began with a coffee cart in November of 1994. The brothers served gourmet espresso drinks, teas and chocolates at the USD Sports Center during volleyball and basketball events. The signature flavors delighted sports patrons, and soon the cart was scheduled through the spring of 1995. Today, they are the official suppliers of coffee and tea products to the University of San Diego.
"To literally begin our business at our alma mater was truly special," Harry said.
Harry graduated from USD with a degree in English and Carmine earned a degree in political science. According to Harry, the liberal arts curriculum helped him to gain a better perspective on his career options.
"I loved the wide range of course work," he said. "Like a great narrative that touches different aspects of life and living, a Liberal Arts degree gives a broadened view of the world and what's out there to explore."
And the brothers have had their share of exploration. The Ryans, originally from Pennsylvania, spent several years in Jakarta where their father was employed for some time. According to their website, "Growing up in Indonesia during the 1970s taught us the value of participating in the Global Community."
As global thinkers they, " buy fair trade, rainforest friendly, organic, estate grown and so on," Carmine Ryan said, "because that is an important value system."
When they went into business, the brothers were excited by the prospect of uniting their family in Southern California. But working with family can certainly present difficulties. According to Harry, the brothers struggled to avoid comparing the project in its early stages to previous jobs and pay.
"We hope to continue enjoying the journey and spreading a sense of passion for work and relationship building."
"In a family venture, patience is often needed for a long time before the financial returns prove objectively 'worthy,'" Harry said.
In the end, the brothers feel that their lifestyle was worth pursuing. Working closely with each other, and with the university that two of the three owners call home, has been deeply rewarding for the family.
"We hope to continue enjoying the journey and spreading a sense of passion for work and relationship building," Harry said.
- Anne Malinoski '11