At 9th Hour Coffee Co., every cup of coffee provides work and mentorship for previously addicted and incarcerated individuals. Trey Rummel, Houston Heights native and founder of 9th Hour Coffee Co., first started his missional coffee roasting business in 2017. Since then, it has grown to encompass three full-time employees and is sustained by several Houston-area clients and a nonprofit partnership.
At 9th Hour Coffee Co., Rummel’s entire team of employees is made up of formerly incarcerated and addicted individuals. They all work full-time schedules, roasting high-grade specialty coffee and providing commercial coffee services to offices and organizations around the Houston area. They also ship coffee elsewhere and sell bags of ground, whole-bean, and single serve cups online.
Rummel’s inspiration for starting his company was born when he met a few men at his church, Seven Mile Road Houston. There, he got to know them and hear their stories of addiction and recovery. This experience prompted him to do something that would help change the lives of other recovering addicts in the Houston area.
“With guys coming out of addiction, there’s definitely a pretty significant stigma and it’s just a challenge for them to find work,” he said. “In a lot of cases, it’s desperately needed so I think they view employment with a lot more seriousness.”
Although Rummel doesn’t have any personal experience with addiction, he is passionate about helping people that do.
“I find their humility refreshing,” he said. “They’re not working hard to impress you. They’re just kind of like, ‘This is who I am, and this is my story.’ Also, I think there’s just a lot of overlap between that and my own wrestling with anxiety and fear and things like that. I think it takes the same kind of resolve, or more resolve, to walk out of addiction, but it inspires me to press on and focus.”
As both an employer and an advocate for people who are in addiction recovery, Rummel admits that he has to consider a person’s drug abuse and criminal history when hiring them for certain positions, but he doesn’t want their past mistakes to define their whole story moving forward.
“We just need guys who want the job, who want to stay clean, who want to work hard. If those types of people show up and we have confidence that they’re serious about their recovery, those are the people we want to give opportunities to,” he said. “We want to empower the people who are ready to make a change and there are plenty of them.”
Rummel says his company’s goal is to head to Austin next, where he plans to offer the same high-quality specialty coffee, equipment services, and mission.