Healthy Living Loves Local: Recess Coffee

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Adam Williams, baker and co-owner / founder and Jesse Daino, roaster and co-owner/founder.

So, how did it all begin? Here is their story:

Adam Williams and Jesse Daino grew up in the same small town outside of Syracuse,NY, and for the years before Recess were best known locally as veterans of the local music scene. On a day after another grueling cross country tour, Jesse was sitting on Adam’s couch thinking of a way to make ends meet when he wasn’t on the road. Adam,then supplementing his musical endeavors with a job at the local food co-op asked Jesse what he thought about the coffee shop around the corner.

In the winter of 2006, Adam and Jesse purchased a coffee shop that, in the 15-20 years previously, had become more well known for the revolving door of businesses coming and going from the location. In fact, “Recess” was someone else’s coffee shop first. After a year in business, the previous owner decided it was time for him to move on too. Despite a total rebrand, they decided to keep the name. They felt the community would benefit from the continuity in neighborhood’s business district, as much as fresh coffee and baked goods. In January 2007, after some remodeling and a crash course in coffee roasting, Recess was relaunched with Adam baking vegan treats by day, and Jesse
roasting coffee by night.

For the first 4 years, Adam and Jesse were Recess’s only employees, so they would be roasting and baking while taking orders and making drinks. The original roaster looked more like a large toaster oven than a coffee roaster. It did the job, but there were days that seemed like it wouldn’t last one more batch of beans. While they were limited by their equipment, they knew they could control the quality of the beans that went into their blends. Since the day they opened the doors, every single bean that has gone into their roasters has been certified organic and certified fair trade.To hear Jesse say it,
“We’re just two guys working hard to make a living doing something we love, and we want the same thing for the farmers we buy our beans from.”

Since those early days, Recess has grown to a dozen employees, added a coffee truck to their coffee shop (now an anchor of Syracuse’s Wescott Nation neighborhood), upgraded their roaster, and moved all the baking and roasting into a dedicated commercial production facility. The “new” roaster is 100+ year old flame driven, copper roaster. Because of the antique nature of the roaster, every step of the artisan process is monitored and tweaked by the operator. It’s a fully hands on experience that guarantees every bean they produce passes through the hands of a human. And as their skill and quality grew so did their reach. They now sell to over 25 stores, restaurants, and farmstands around New York State, with more coming on board every day.

Recess is proud of the coffee they produce and are excited to bring it to coffee cups around Saratoga Springs with the help of folks at Healthy Living.