If I have learned anything about human beings growing up, it’s that we’re special.  Sure, we have had to fight, eat, and find shelter to survive just like all other living creatures, but we also have done some pretty special things in the meantime.  We learned how to freeze time onto paper and develop film, we learned how to harness natural resources into energy, we learned how to travel at insane speeds and we’ve learned how to combat a lot of diseases that threatened our existence.  We’ve produced incredible art through film, music, paint, and every medium we can dream up.  No matter how you look at it, we have been given incredible potential to create.

Growing up in my small hometown without a specialty coffee shop, I hadn’t really experienced the coffee culture until I moved to Conway for college.   After four years of consistently visiting local shops, it was an off day if I didn’t get to sit down in one of the stores and work on music or read while enjoying my favorite beverage.  At some point I learned it wasn’t just the coffee I enjoyed, it was the community. I met my girlfriend at a local shop because we had recognized each other a few times after returning visits. I further developed older relationships yet at the same time created new relationships and opportunities through cups of coffee.

My favorite aspect of coffee became the people that enveloped it.  I loved seeing people of different walks of life, coming from different homes and from different backgrounds, coming together to enjoy that atmosphere of creation that we as humans crave.  I like to believe that creation is an integral part of not only making coffee but also enjoying it.  If you look around a coffee shop on any given day, you’ll see people creating.  Whether it’s a project for school or work, whether it’s a new art piece they have been working on, whether it’s creating a new playlist as they discover a song they like on Spotify, or whether it’s creating a new relationship through a first date, people are creative beings when it comes to coffee.  

When asked what I wanted to bring to Round Mountain in my interview, I told Kyle and Scott that I only knew I loved making music and community, and I wanted to be involved in creating the same experience I had encountered when I walked into the coffee culture of Conway four years ago.  Creation, in any context and to every extent, is the most special part about human existence, and I’m glad I get to experience it every day, thanks to a fruit we call coffee.

-Austin Keith, Round Mountain Coffee Roaster