Rising Star Artisan Ryan O'Donovan of Verve Coffee Roasters - Biography

Santa Cruz, CA

May 2013

The coffee obsession got its hooks firmly into Ryan O'Donovan while he was in college in Chico, California. He discovered a natural affinity for barista work and was quickly promoted in each of the coffee shops he joined. Inspired by the young entrepreneurs who ran these businesses, he began to imagine himself following a similar path.

When a coffee venture he and a friend hoped to start in Bend, Oregon had to be tabled, O'Donovan went to work for another roaster in the Pacific Northwest. It was there his education in roasting and cupping began in earnest. Coffee in cities like Portland and Seattle was a revelation, and O'Donovan began roasting on a sample roaster at home in an attempt to reproduce what he tasted from the best roasters in the Northwest. He was a natural with a great palate, and made quick progress. When his college friend Colby Barr randomly called about starting a roasting company, O'Donovan didn't have to think twice.

Verve opened its doors in the surfing neighborhood of Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz in November of 2007. O'Donovan oversees the retail operations and is the driving force behind the aesthetics, culture, and overall direction of the brand. He still gets dirty on the roasting floor at times, and is always active in the cupping lab, where he doesn't hesitate to make roast level or blend changes when he feels necessary.