Our Story

My father, Del, was the kind of guy who always had a cup of coffee in his hand and would wake up in the middle of the night just to have another. By age eight, I was already sneaking my own coffee—filled with crème and sugar. By fourteen, it was impossible to start a workday at The Downtown Deli in Lansing, Michigan, without a cup of coffee. This job as a cook ignited a passion within me to go to culinary school. After graduating, I worked in the hospitality business in a variety of diverse positions.  

At that time, I was still drinking lousy commercial coffee until a trip to Chicago in 1982. I wandered into a craft coffee house where I sampled 100% Arabica for the first time. I left a changed man. That weekend I tried it all; espresso, cappuccinos and other beverages with names  I mispronounced. I probably spent on drinks and beans what I earned in a whole month back when I worked at the Downtown Deli as a kid.

I brought back my coffee haul to the rural town I called home and feared the day I’d run out. I realized there must be others living in Arabica isolation, too. That’s when I started a mail-order coffee company called “BJ Maynard Fine Coffee.” It wasn’t much of a money-maker, but it helped pay for my elevated coffee habit.  

BJ Maynard Fine Coffee continued to run until 1988, when my first child was born. I recall thinking about the steady paycheck and health insurance that came with working for an established business. It was time to retire BJ Maynard Fine Coffee.

I rose through the ranks of a large appliance company and enjoyed a long marketing career. In my role, I was involved in launching coffee making equipment for two brands. I left the company after 27 years in 2017. It was time to go back to coffee, and that’s how Forté Coffee was born.

Our vision at Forté Coffee is to take you on a journey of discovery. Whether you’re new to specialty coffee or well-roasted, our single-origin coffees will delight you and provide appreciation for the bean.  We are a micro-roaster dedicated to honoring the families who grow, pick and process the finest coffee available. Our shop is a place where you will feel embraced and become part of the Forté Coffee story.


Welcome to Forté Coffee.


Brian Maynard – 2018