Barry McNamara  |   Published February 03, 2022

Alumni Profile: Brian Franklin

For 1995 graduate and coffee entrepreneur, learning was just getting started as he moved on from Monmouth.

STRAIGHT TO THE SOURCE: Brian Franklin '95 is pictured in Colombia with beans that eventually... STRAIGHT TO THE SOURCE: Brian Franklin '95 is pictured in Colombia with beans that eventually made their way into his own roasts at DoubleShot Coffee Company.MONMOUTH, Ill. – Speakers across the land couldn’t articulate a commencement message any better or more concisely than Monmouth College alumnus Brian Franklin ’95.

“The end of college is just the beginning,” said Franklin, when asked to offer advice to seniors at his alma mater. “Now you get to decide what your skill set will be.”

For Franklin, that skill set has become all things coffee. He is the founding owner and roastmaster at the innovative DoubleShot Coffee Co. in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which he opened in 2004.

Four years later, Franklin traveled to Colombia, one of the largest coffee-producing countries in the world. There, he met Cristina Garces, a professional coffee taster whose father was the largest coffee producer in the country, and her boyfriend, Ariel Montoya, owner of the farm Hacienda El Boton.

“The end of college is just the beginning. Now you get to decide what your skill set will be.” Brian Franklin


“My exuberance for coffee production and experimentation led the three of us to perform some trials on a special variety of coffee at El Boton called Maragogipe,” said Franklin. “One of the trials turned out to be a really amazing coffee, so in 2009, we planned to export it to the United States.”

That type of coffee had never been exported from Colombia. The Federación Nacional de Cafeteros (FNC), a federal organization in Colombia that regulates coffee exports, initially rejected the export request.

“I contacted the director of coffee quality at the FNC and convinced him to let us carry on with the export as planned,” said Franklin. “The El Boton Natural soon became the first of its kind in the U.S. Today, I am roasting the 12th iteration of El Boton Natural, the Maragogipe variety, which produces unusually large coffee beans. We now call it ‘Maduro,’ and it is better than ever.”


‘Dreaming, creating, designing’

The same could be said for Franklin’s business, which was featured recently in Daily Coffee News.

THE ARTIST AT WORK: Brian Franklin still roasts all the product at his Tulsa, Oklahoma, business,... THE ARTIST AT WORK: Brian Franklin still roasts all the product at his Tulsa, Oklahoma, business, DoubleShot Coffee Company.“I’m always dreaming, creating, designing,” Franklin told the publication. “I’m excited about sourcing new coffees and reengineering all of the tools we use every day to make coffee.”

The article paid special attention to DoubleShot’s new site, The Rookery, which opened to the public in 2019. It was constructed from the timbers of an Amish barn built in 1850 in Berne, Indiana, and also has generations-old brick enclosing the onsite roastery that was sourced from a shuttered Muskogee Coca-Cola bottling plant. Its upstairs loft flooring is made from wood originally used in oil field plank roads.

Operating his business in Tulsa and being involved in his site’s construction both tie into his first year after graduating from Galesburg High School, which was spent studying architecture at Oklahoma State University.

“But I found that I missed football and I wanted to be at a smaller school where I could have more of a chance to interact with my professors and feel like I was getting the education I was paying for,” said Franklin, who then transferred to Monmouth to work on his college degree and to play football.

His point when giving his advice to seniors is that he didn’t learn any specifics about coffee roasting in college, nor negotiating with Colombian officials or selecting appropriate 170-year-old building materials.

“I’m not sure anyone really knows how to do anything when they graduate from college. So I knew I had to start teaching myself everything I needed or wanted to know. I started reading and doing things I’d never done, and now I have a diverse set of skills.” Brian Franklin


“I’m not sure anyone really knows how to do anything when they graduate from college,” he said. “So I knew I had to start teaching myself everything I needed or wanted to know. I started reading and doing things I’d never done, and now I have a diverse set of skills including podcasting, graphic and packaging design, web design, product development and, of course, coffee roasting, cupping and brewing.”

But that doesn’t mean Franklin, a two-time All-Midwest Conference selection for the Scots, doesn’t value his Monmouth education.

“At Monmouth, I took classes that required a diverse range of skills,” he said. “From my hand-built pottery class, I’ve come to know and appreciate one of the preeminent potters in the United States, Doug Casebeer, who is an artist in residence at the University of Oklahoma, and he makes cups especially for DoubleShot.”

Franklin majored in accounting, and he uses those skills to read financial statements and make spreadsheets so that he can make wise fiscal decisions for his business. His psychology classes opened the door to better understand how to manage staff and how psychology plays into salesmanship.

Franklin didn’t realize he did not want to have a career in accounting until after he graduated from Monmouth and went to an interview at Arthur Andersen in Chicago, then one of the Big 5 accounting firms.

“I could tell I was out of my element and that I wanted to work in a field that is more active and creative,” he said. “So my first business was in personal training.”


‘An epiphany about coffee’

Being a personal trainer required a certain level of fitness from Franklin. It also required coffee.

“I was getting up early every day for the job, and coffee became a part of my daily ritual,” he said. “I started learning more and more about it and how to make it better.”

“Roasting that first batch and drinking it, the coffee felt alive in my mouth, and I realized I’d never had coffee that wasn’t stale before. And that’s when I had an epiphany about coffee.” Brian Franklin


Then Franklin saw an ad for a home coffee roaster and tracked one down, buying it along with several coffees from around the world and a book on how to roast coffee.

“Roasting that first batch and drinking it, the coffee felt alive in my mouth, and I realized I’d never had coffee that wasn’t stale before,” he said. “And that’s when I had an epiphany about coffee. It wasn’t until a few years later when I lost my grandpa and a friend in a short time frame that I made the leap and decided to make coffee my career. But to this day, I still roast all the coffee for DoubleShot, and freshness is one of the core tenets for how we serve coffee.”

Franklin enjoys taking what he’s learned from his coffee-related travels and roasting and brewing experiences and “becoming a resource to help people enjoy better coffee at home, in their workplace and in our café.”

“I want them to have memorable coffee experiences and impress their friends and family with their exquisite taste,” he said. “It’s really a passion of mine.”

Information about purchasing coffee and merchandise from Franklin’s company is available at doubleshotcoffee.com.

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