The arc of Jeremiah Pick’s life spans continents and professions. In an interesting way, it has all come together in his love affair with coffee and his specialty coffee business, Jeremiah’s Pick.
Born and raised in a working class family in Tel Aviv, Israel, Jeremiah’s first passion was music, especially hand percussion, though the family’s limited financial means didn’t permit him to own an instrument at that time.
At the high school he attended half the day was spent in academics and the other half in agriculture. Jeremiah discovered another passion. “I followed the vet around, even helping birth calves, and I worked with bees. I’m still friends with people I met there, and the connection to agriculture is still in me.”
He had applied to study in the United States and was accepted at Portland State University. He studied business, with a minor in filmmaking. At a pawnshop, h was able to buy bongos and congas and started playing.
An important period of his life was beginning. “I moved to San Francisco and apprenticed with some really good drummers. For 13 years I played professionally all over the world. However, I had begun my percussion career much later than most drummers, and eventually I developed serious bone and ligament issues in my hands. I had to quit and find another means of making a living.”
“A friend introduced me to Johnny Giotta, founder of the famous Caffé Trieste, the original espresso house on the West Coast. I had loved coffee all my life, so in spite of not knowing anything about the coffee business, I enthusiastically jumped into it.”
Jeremiah’s mother had been a “nose” for Helena Rubinstein Perfumes, and her palate for aromas and tastes has been inherited by Jeremiah and his two sons. It became evident that this was a huge asset.
Selling coffee for Caffé Trieste gave Jeremiah a coffee education “on the run.” His enthusiasm and knowledge led to sales ranging from Safeway to McCormick & Schmidt Restaurants and Kimpton Hotels, convincing them that the quality of the coffee they served was important.
A self-avowed risk taker and born entrepreneur, the next step was to open his own coffee business. “Selling coffee had never been just a job. It was my work, my honor, my word. So when I started my own company, even though it began small, I had a lot of excellent customer relationships. I also wanted to work directly with coffee growers. The farmer in me loves going to the origins. I knew exactly how I wanted my coffee.”
Central to the entire business is Jeremiah’s motivation to provide affordable luxury, high quality beans at a competitive price. Many of the top gourmet independent supermarket groups are loyal customers, and Sprouts Markets has carried Jeremiah’s Pick Coffee since it began.
Jeremiah’s philosophy is simple: “Coffee does not grow by itself. It takes a lot of care and attention. Really good coffee is a direct result of how well the land is treated, how the employees are treated, how it is processed. For instance, are the employees motivated to attend to the details, such as removing by hand any beans that aren’t optimal? It’s all going to end up in the bean, and the taste buds will tell when you drink the coffee.”