Event Professional Spotlight - Richard Colt
Java Pura Coffee Roasters founding partner Richard Colt boasts nearly three decades of experience in the Houston coffee industry. Although Colt’s career has weaved through the energy and real estate businesses, his passion remains coffee. In addition to roasting the finest coffees from around the world, Java Pura also operates a highly successful office and special events catering business along with an Internet retail outlet.
Born in Houston in 1956, Colt attended St. John’s School through his sophomore year of high school before finishing his secondary education at Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts. He returned to Texas to attend the University of Texas at Austin from which he graduated in 1979 with a business degree. While at UT, Colt was part of a group of students that reestablished the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity. Also joining the new DKE house was Fielding Cocke, who years later would become Java Pura’s sole investor.
Prior to his collegiate career, Colt worked the oil fields of West Texas and Alabama. During one summer between semesters at UT, he found himself in Hawaii working at a friend’s family’s restaurant only to lose his job thanks to the fallout of the oil embargo. Ever the entrepreneur, Colt spent the rest of his break making $150 per day as a Pedi cab driver in Honolulu.
After college, Colt secured a job buying oil leases only to see the bottom fall out of the oil industry. He rebounded in commercial real estate and watched the bottom fall out of that industry too. Facing a great deal of extra free time, he took up windsurfing in Galveston whereby shear happenstance he met and befriended Charles Seward, owner of Seward Corporation. Seward had spent the early 70’s traveling through Europe with The Beatles’ guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi where he learned about espresso, gelato and fine food. He established the Seward Corporation in Houston to import among other things Faema espresso machines that he sold to high-end restaurants.
On a visit to Seward’s summer home in Oregon, Colt was served “the best damn espresso I’d ever had – at a gas station no less.” With his interest in finely roasted coffee piqued, Colt went to work for Seward Corporation in 1985. After Seward left Houston to establish permanent residence in Oregon, Colt focused his attention on a new commercial venture, Video Library Systems, which stocked apartment complexes with film libraries.
After selling Video Library Systems to the president of the Houston Apartment Association in 1989, Colt turned back to real estate. With coffee still on the brain, he approached the 1992 Republican National Convention about doing a specialty coffee bar. It proved so successful that he spun it into a coffee catering business called Texas Java Co. In addition to successful hotel and caterer partnerships, Texas Java installed coffee kiosks at the Saks Pavilion on Post Oak, The Galleria near the skating rink, the Marathon Oil Tower, and several at the University of Houston. Due to mounting red tape, Colt pulled the kiosks in 1997 and refocused on residential real estate while maintaining the coffee catering arm of Texas Java.
In 2005 – following marriage and the birth of his first child – Colt decided to put his full energy into the coffee business. Now with his undivided attention, Texas Java began growing rapidly. In 2007, he received a call out of the blue from Master Roaster Ken Palmer who Colt immediately hired to oversee the sourcing and roasting operations. Soon thereafter, Fielding Cocke – Colt’s old college friend and coffee aficionado – came by for a presentation, and after trying one cup of Ken’s coffee Java Pura LLC was formed with Fielding as the sole investor. “We're not reinventing the wheel...we're simply introducing Houston to truly exceptional, locally roasted coffees.”
ABOUT JAVA PURA COFFEE ROASTERS
Java Pura is a Houston-based specialty coffee roaster founded in 2008. Java Pura sources the finest green coffee beans from around the world and roasts them locally to create the freshest coffee possible. Many Java Pura coffees are Fair Trade, organic and in some cases come directly to Java Pura from limited production farms for exclusive use. Java Pura is located at 5250 Gulfton Street #4G. For more information please call 713-523-5282 or visit online at www.javapura.com.