After spending more than 4 years waking up in Iraq, Evan Hafer now wakes up to the dark silence of his Salt Lake City neighborhood. Before anyone else rises, he’s, raised his heart rate and made himself a cup of coffee better than anything most of us will ever taste. That’s because Hafer knows coffee, he knows coffee like he himself was grown and nurtured as a coffee bean.

As a youngster, Hafer grew up smelling the malted leather and pastry-like aromas of his father and grandfather’s coffee. But it wasn’t until high school that Hafer grew fond of the taste for the brew. His passion for coffee beans came later, when he dated a barista who really turned him onto great coffee.

As Hafer dives into the last bit of his morning routine, checking and answering emails, he won’t get too far when two small hands reach for him. His two year old daughter is awake, she knows the smell of brewing coffee means morning. She also knows it’s a drink only for mommy and daddy and not yet for her. “I’ll make breakfast for us both – usually two eggs for me and French toast for her.”  But life wasn’t always this way for the Veteran and father.

“At 20 years old I was consumed with the desire to serve my country…” a desire that drove him to join the Washington National Guard after high school and the same desire that pushed him into becoming a Green Beret. After joining the Special Forces, Hafer would spend more than 20 years serving the United States – either with the Guard, on active duty or as a contractor for the government. He racked up more than 40 deployments all over the world, serving in places like Southeast Asia, Kuwait and Iraq, but never without roasting about ten pounds of coffee beans first, to accompany him on his missions overseas. “I roasted the coffee for my trips because the coffee I roasted was so much better than anything I could buy or ship to myself. Although, we had an interpreter in Iraq that could make a mean Turkish coffee.”

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