Odd Duck Coffee sets itself apart from other coffee retailers

Christa Cooper, head barista, pulling shots at Odd Duck Coffee on March 21. Photo by Robin Reid.

Customers were welcomed into Odd Duck Coffee for its grand opening at 8 a.m. on March 18, where they were met with smiles from employees, plenty of natural light from the open windows, a bright splash of turquoise, 11 different origins of coffee, as well as a menu of specialty drinks and some snacks.

“Less than a year ago, we got our start by literally selling our roasted coffee beans out of the back of our car at the farmer’s market. To go from that to having our own roastery is amazing,” Ted Klopf, owner, said. “It is all because the people of Wichita Falls supporting us and they certainly showed up to support us at our grand opening.”

Naming a business is also naming a brand, and Odd Duck Coffee acquired its name from an unlikely source, a pet duck. Ducks imprint on what they see around them soon after birth, and what they imprint on becomes like a mother to them.

“I’m in the Air Force and I was stationed up in Oklahoma City. It was actually my and my wife’s anniversary — we were in Bricktown on the riverwalk there and someone, was releasing a baby duck into the water. It was freezing cold out and baby ducks can’t survive that,” Klopf said. “It lost consciousness so I scooped it out of the water, put it in my pocket, ran to the car. I put it in front of the heater and came back. He imprinted on me, or I imprinted on him, and so I was mom.”

Having a pet duck and keeping a clean home takes some skill, but it is possible. While Odd Duck may seem like an odd name for a coffee shop, it is fitting for the goals the Klopf family has for their business. 

“I’m trying to figure out how to keep it from pooping all over my house so he wore diapers. He was this little duck running around the house in diapers, so he was odd in that sense,” Klopf said. “He was raised around dogs, so he thought that he was a dog. Any time anyone would come to the door, they would go to the fence barking, he would run with them and he’d be quacking all the time. He was part of the pack. He was just my little odd duck.”

The Klopf’s want to create a different culture surrounding coffee than most coffee retailers and a different culture for their employees.

“We want to do things a little bit different than most ‘coffee shops.’ Coffee shops serve coffee that other people have roasted. We buy the green coffee beans, roast them in house and serve them fresh,” Klopf said. “We are a coffee roastery first and a coffee shop second. We want to focus primarily on roasting, and that part of the shop is secondary. We really want to create an atmosphere with our employees and our customers of family and community.”

Aside from creating a feeling of community and family, Odd Duck Coffee strives to provide customers with a positive experience. Public servants and students who show their I.D. receive 10 percent discounts.

“My main focus is going to be quality over quantity every time and if you don’t like it, we want to make it right,” Klopf said. “We use all organic products, but I think most shops you go into that do that charge a much higher premium. I get why, because it is more expensive. We try to price everything comparable to any other coffee shops.”

Inspired to learn how to roast coffee during a trip to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, Klopf knew he had to learn how to recreate the same freshly roasted coffee experience at home.

“We were there on vacation and there was a small coffee shop that looked a lot like this, actually. They did what we are doing now, they roasted in their shop and they had the barista bar where people could try their different coffees and I had never tried fresh roasted coffee before,” Klopf said. “I was used to drinking Folgers or Maxwell House and so I tried it — I was just blown away at the taste of it. It wasn’t bitter, it was smooth, just all the possible qualities that comes with fresh roasted coffee.”

Once home, Klopf relied on Google searches to start him on his journey of learning how to roast coffee and experienced many trials and errors along the way.

“I learned you could roast coffee with a popcorn popper. So I ordered the first one and started down the road of roasting coffee and screwed it up a lot,” Klopf said. “The good thing about learning that way is there’s no temperature dials, there’s nothing that tells me where the bean is at. You have to rely totally on your senses, the sights, the smells, the sounds.”

It took him a few years, but once he figured out the art of creating a good roast, he had to be able to supply family and friends with the coffee they were requesting. Eventually, the Klopf family made their way to Wichita Falls, where they began to sell their coffee at the farmer’s market.

“My curiosity and my interest in it just kept growing. So I started stepping up to bigger and better roasters because family and friends were wanting it and I just couldn’t keep up with the demand. When I got stationed here, a friend of ours who had been drinking our coffee lived next to the woman who runs the food co-op here in town,” Klopf said. “She tried it and she wanted to supply it for her co-op. At that point, I thought we can step it up a little bit and maybe create a business out of this.”

The downtown coffee shop has been years in the making for Klopf and his wife Andrea. Enlisted in the United States Air Force as a KC-135 crew chief, Klopf deploys often which means spending less time with his family. Deciding to open their own business has been a leap of faith, but one they were ready to make.

“I’m in one of the most deployed jobs in the entire military. I’m gone for the majority of the year, every year and I have a 3-year-old daughter, Addilynn, at home,” Klopf said. “My love for her — she’s my world. I can’t fathom being away from her for that long. So you know, we’re making a leap. I’m signing paperwork to get out of the Air Force and we’re making this a full-time job. She is why I am doing this.”

Odd Duck Coffee is located at 717 7th St. in downtown Wichita Falls.