Voyage Utah: Conversations with Brandy Ledbetter
Conversations with Brandy Ledbetter
Today we’d like to introduce you to Brandy Ledbetter.
Hi Brandy, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
It started with a trip to Costa Rica and my first time ever drinking my coffee black. I asked for sugar and cream and the girl said please take a sip first. I thought why not, so I took a sip and wondered immediately if it was actually coffee. It tasted like chocolate and citrus and like nothing I had ever tasted before. I bought bags of Costa Rica coffee and brought it home to enjoy. Fast forward ten years, I took my family to Costa Rica and was so excited for them to see how beautiful and amazing it is. I also wanted them to have Gallo Pinto, my favorite Costa Rican breakfast, and drink the delicious coffee. They fell in love with everything. Back in the states, my husband’s company was bought by a foreign company and they closed the division where he worked in electrical controls design. When we were deciding which career direction we wanted to go we both realized we loved coffee and wanted to explore options for importing and roasting coffee ourselves. We knew we would start with building relationships with the farmers and we would start with Costa Rica.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
We found a space for our roaster and cafe and began the build-out in June of 2018. We officially opened our doors in October of 2018. Our location is a bit tricky to find so it was a struggle for people to find us. Once they do they realize that there’s ample parking and the space is warm and inviting. Our baristas like to say “Welcome to Kings Peak, when you’re here you’re family.” We were just starting to build clientele and felt like we were headed in the right direction when 2020 hit and like several small businesses we struggled to stay in business. We had lots of loyal customers that purchased our coffee online and allowed us to continue roasting and helped us stay afloat.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
We set up to build community and make a welcoming space to share our love of coffee. We immediately began building relationships with farmers and met a woman who started the Farmers Project Costa Rica. We loved her vision and searched for other direct trade relationships we could build with farmers. We now have relationships with farmers from Papua New Guinea, Guatemala, and Nicaragua to name a few. We feel like those relationships help us to ensure our coffees are grown sustainably and that farmers can thrive.
Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
Growing up, I loved to be outdoors and if stuck inside I always had a book to read. The books I read made me want to see the world but that wasn’t the type of travel my family did. We packed up the car a few times a year and hit National Parks but nothing international or by plane. When I was seventeen we did our first family flight vacation and we flew to upstate New York to visit family friends. I loved flying so a year later when I saw a newspaper ad about an airline hiring I went to the group interview and got hired on with America West Airlines. I was attending the University of Nevada Reno during the day and working for the airline in the evenings. I now had access to the world and I applied for my passport and started getting stamps from the places I had dreamed of seeing as a kid. Working for the airline allowed me to show these places to my five children and instill a love of travel in them as well. After 28 years with the Airlines I retired in 2021 to work full time on building our coffee business. It’s my next adventure.