For 50 years, Master Coffee Roaster Henry Kalebjian and his family have been roasting daily in their Noriega Street Store in San Francisco.
Master Roaster is a designation that is earned over time, and becomes part of ones reputation among peers in the industry – international coffee brokers, producers and other roasters. Henry Kalebjian holds this distinction. But it’s the proprietary roasting process that lies at the heart of the Kalebjian family business. He personally roasts and blends coffee six days a week.
Customers come by regularly to watch Henry roast, take a break from their busy schedules, or relax with other customers from the neighborhood and around the Bay Area. Henry’s personal touch with his customers – marked by a homemade Rolodex of his “regulars” and their taste preferences – is what sets Henry’s House of Coffee apart from other coffeehouses in the Bay Area.
Coffee drinkers start their days on the way to work with a fresh pastry and a cup of Henry’s finest roasts and blends. Henry’s House of Coffee has a loyal following of customers that travel from throughout the Bay Area to their store in San Francisco’s Sunset District. The Kalebjians have long standing relationships with businesses and coffee lovers from Hawaii to Florida. Henry’s wholesale customers include retail groceries, neighborhood coffee shops and fine dining restaurants.
All About Henry:
"My roasting roots began in Lebanon where my father owned a bakery and served coffee to the locals. Back then coffee wasn’t easily sourced, so you had to roast your own coffee if you wanted to drink it. As the business grew, my father pulled me out of school at the age of 12 to help him with the store. My job was to roast the coffee.
My father would give me the task of turning the coffee roasting drum. He would often sign a song to help me follow the beat of the roast. One time, I burned my hand and upon seeing me in tears, my father ran over and exclaimed, 'Don't cry son, now the secret of roasting is in your blood.'
I moved to the United States in the early 70s and worked as a draftsman until I decided to leave and purchase my own business. We bought House Of Coffee in 1983 and have been personally hand-roasting coffee ever since."
All About Hrag:
"When I was thirteen my father would drag me out of bed on Saturdays to help him with the store. I hated it! I wanted to watch Scooby Doo. I remember scooping pounds of coffee and packing them in clear colored bags for our wholesale accounts.
I was never interested in the business which is why I ended up working in corporate finance for almost ten years. My last stint was at AAA where I was a manager of Sales Operations. I loved my job but there was something missing. I realized there is something very special about a tradition that is passed down from one generation to another so I left and made the switch in July of 2013."
Roasting Process / Roaster:
Gas - Drum / San Franciscan