Upon returning to the US, Verga landed in California after he was offered a job working for a wealthy family in Orange County. Eventually, those questions about self-fulfillment piqued again, and he decided to go back to school, eventually earning his degree in, appropriately, philosophy from UC Berkeley.
In his last semester, he began investigating PhD programs and took a warehouse job at Sweet Maria’s Green Coffee, a small but fiercely dedicated roastery. Although this was meant to be a way to make money while he figured out his next step, it turned out to be the catalyst to a completely new direction.
"I’ve always liked drinking coffee, but I didn’t really start bringing a lot of awareness to it until I moved to the Bay Area, which is the ultimate in the craft coffee scene," he says. "There’s only a few dozen full-time coffee roasters there, and so to be around the cupping table with people like that meant I was really able to accelerate my learning."
He decided to put the PhD on hold to open his own craft coffee roastery. He'd call it duck-rabbit coffee, named after Ludwig Wittgenstein’s famous thought experiment of seeing the same object in two ways.