Stevan Teague: Coffee Works coffee roaster and amateur hockey player
Roasting beans and slapping pucks
Stevan Teague’s workdays begin at 3:30 a.m., and he’s on his feet 40 hours a week. He has a seven-minute commute to Coffee Works and Jump Start Cafe, where he’s worked for 26 years, mostly as their coffee roaster. The funky coffeehouse on Folsom Boulevard opened in 1982, and has Jerry Garcia’s image immortalized in tile squares behind the counter. There, Teague is the senior staffer. His early-morning schedule may not be for everyone, but Teague’s work is done by noon—and that’s a good thing, because on Thursdays, the 64-year-old East Sacramentan spends a few more hours on his feet. He drives to Skatetown in Roseville and starts playing ice hockey.
SN&R chatted with Teague during one of his recent morning shifts about his long career as a roaster and his recreation of choice.
You’ve been here nearly 25 years, an old-school guy in an old-school place. A lot of coffee shops have come and gone, but Coffee Works remains. Is there a reason?
We’ve been consistent, and that’s how we’ve survived. I believe in a little bit more development on the roast. Being old school, we go a little darker with most of our stuff. There’s still a need for a lighter roast, but at the same time, I believe in the sweetness that develops in coffee, and I try to find that, rather than that sour mash others get.
How did you start playing ice hockey?
I did everything as a kid. I swam. I played baseball. I played all sports at La Sierra High School. I never played hockey when I was young. I had opportunities, but I kick myself for the times I could have played when I lived up in Washington. But eventually I went to Anchorage where my dad was, and I ran into a lot of people who played hockey. I went out to watch the first game of the season and thought, “There’s no way you’re going to get me on the ice.” But then I just started to play.
But why hockey?
I was running, and I was trying to do that every morning, but my knees just revolted against me. So I had to try something different, and one thing led to another. I’ve been playing for about 20 years now. It’s the best game in the world.
How have you improved as a player?
It’s funny. As we get older, we don’t get that much better. I joke about it. I call it “smart hockey.” It’s an inside joke. We walk in the locker room and there’s a certain age group in there. And there are also kids in there who bring the age down a little bit, and they have a little more talent sometimes. It’s mainly non-contact, but there’s some incidental contact. But we all have jobs to go to.
You’re 64 years old. When you play ice hockey, do you have aches and pains?
I do. But the thing is about playing a sport and doing any kind of exercise, you know where the aches and pains came from. You can blame it on that rather than anything else. I laugh about that, because when I don’t play for a couple of weeks, there’s a lot of stuff that crops up, and I say, “Where did that come from?”
What’s playing ice hockey like?
The hand-eye coordination over time is muscle memory with the repetition of the game … you get better with it. But as we get older, it’s different. Some guys can knock down a puck in midair and control it. It’s not a ball. It’s a lot different optically. When it happens, it’s phenomenal. I get lucky sometimes. I knock it down, and even score every once in a while.
Finally, what does the game of hockey do for you?
It keeps me sane—it’s an outlet. It’s great; the camaraderie, and the exercise and the game itself. It’s fun. It’s classic.