McPherson Alum Opens Coffee Roastery

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By Emmy Goering

Coffee is much more than a caffeinated beverage to McPherson College alum Nick Unruh; it’s his passion and his business. Nick first began his journey into the world of coffee while employed at The Well, a small coffee shop located in downtown McPherson. Although Nick enjoyed his work there, he was lukewarm about coffee at best, until a friend from Seattle hosted a hand-brewing course. Those early lessons in the coffee-making process percolated into a calling for Nick to pursue the art and science of truly good coffee.

A lifelong McPherson native, Nick majored in Marketing and Graphic Design at McPherson college. In 2013, he began working at Craft Coffee Parlor, a startup coffee shop owned by fellow MC alum Phil Parrish. Nick graduated from McPherson College in 2015 and was promoted to manager at Craft Coffee Parlor, where he is instrumental in expanding both its menu and customer base.

In October of 2017, Nick Unruh partnered with Phil to begin his own coffee roastery, Pennant Coffee Roasters. Nick’s expertise in coffee has been cultivated by extensive research, trial and error in roasting beans in his own home, and continuous networking with others knowledgeable in the field. Nick explained that when he first found his love of the science behind every cup of coffee, he started to roast coffee beans at home with a simple popcorn popper. He jokes that this would result in accidently smoking out his house on many occasions.

Nick’s upbringing in McPherson and course of studies both contributed to the creation of Pennant Coffee Roasters. His networking skills and partnership with Parrish have helped him create a strong following of customers for his roastery. Craft Coffee Parlor uses Pennant beans to make the majority of their coffee and tasty coffee-based drinks. What started as a hobby for Nick Unruh has grown into a business dedicated to making specialty-grade, great-tasting bagged coffee beans accessible to everyone.