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A unique blend for a small town: Two Rivers Coffee Roasters

It's Your Business 2017

Two Rivers Coffee Roasters’ owners Marie and Dorian Clay (left) employ up to four baristas at a time.

Photo by Lorie Palmer
Two Rivers Coffee Roasters’ owners Marie and Dorian Clay (left) employ up to four baristas at a time.

— Worldwide travel and a lifetime of experiences finally led Dorian and Marie Clay back to Riggins seven years ago.

Dorian grew up in the area and has family ties to the Circle C Ranch.

When he discussed with Marie the possibility of living in Riggins, she wasn’t so sure.

“It took a while, but once we decided on the business, I was ready,” she smiled. “And I love it here.”

That business is Two Rivers Coffee Roasters and it sits on the south end of Riggins’ Main Street.

Dorian grew up ranching, owned a construction company in McCall for years, and traveled worldwide for TelCom. Marie was born in Tacoma, Wash., and later operated a printing business in Twin Falls.

So, why did this educated, professional, world-traveled couple decide to open a coffee shop nestled in the mountain canyons of rural Riggins, Idaho?

“We do love coffee,” Dorian smiled, holding a cup of the aromatic ambrosia.

In all seriousness, they realize having a coffee roasting business in a town of less than 500 inhabitants is “unique.”

“But we enjoy the outdoor recreation available just outside our back door – and this is home,” they said.

The couple purchased the small building of a former business and, subsequently, a home adjacent to it, in 2010. They remodeled and added on, and sank their teeth into their new endeavor.

“Now that we live right next door, we can work 24-7,” they laughed.

They wanted to not only own and operate a coffee shop, but also roast their own coffee beans. For the first five-plus years, they did this in a seven-pound roaster.

When they began shipping all over the U.S. and even worldwide, their roaster became too small for the demand.

“So, we invested in a 25-pound roaster,” Dorian explained.

That was about a year and a half ago, and this purchase prompted him to continue his education.

“I attended roasting school,” he said.

Prior to that, his skills had been learned by hands-on, trial and error, research and talking to people.

Dorian spends hours researching where the beans he desires are grown and if they are accessible for purchase.

“Everything influences the cost of and the end product of the crops – economy, war, soil conditions, weather, temperatures,” he said. “There are so many growing characteristics in each type of bean.”

The Clays buy from all over the world, doing their own importing.

Then, the patience and expertise come into play.

“You have to be very careful – there’s a real science to it – you don’t want to burn your beans, but you also don’t want them under roasted,” Dorian explained.

Marie said roasting days – about twice a week – leave a wonderful aroma.

“It draws people in,” she smiled.

The couple agree their business has “surpassed all our dreams.”

Dorian continues to perfect the roasting profiles for each specific coffee including their signature blend.

Their shop also supports local artisans as it sells honey, jams, jellies, pottery, jewelry and other gift items.

In addition, the shop sells homemade breakfast burritos, sandwiches, smoothies, teas, sodas, nachos, and a favorite – homemade ice cream.

“This community is so supportive,” Marie said.

“The hotels send people over to us, and we’ve served people from just about everywhere,” Dorian added.

The lives they lived before moving to Riggins in 2010 also help their business as friends from all over the world stop in to see them.

One customer, Frank, from California, was in the shop recently.

“I drove 13 to 14 hours for this cup of coffee,” he raised his cup. “Best coffee anywhere.”

The Clays have four children and three grandchildren. They have lived/worked in every state except Maine, Vermont and Michigan.

“It’s good to be home,” they smiled.


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