Former inmate hires parolees for Antioch coffee roasting company

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) -- From the coffee bean fields to your local coffee shop, there's a lot that goes into making that perfect cup of Joe. One local roasting company is giving parolees a second chance.

Roasting the beans for the perfect cup of coffee has literally been the pick-me-up that John Krause needed.

"I was homeless and I had no money. I had one set of clothes," said Krause.

After spending 12 years in and out of prisons, including San Quentin, Krause is pouring himself into a coffee bean roastery in Antioch that he named Big House Beans.

"I'm not afraid like I was before to share my story because my past doesn't define me who I am today," Krause said.

When pitching his fresh roasted whole sale beans to restaurants and coffee shops, Krause has openly discussed his dysfunctional childhood that led to drugs, high-speed chases and illegal gun possession.

And after paying the price for his crimes, Krause is trying to pay it forward. He's hiring other ex-offenders including Juan Valdez, who had a hard time getting a job.

"You know if you have the look, like you've been in prison, it makes it definitely worse," Valdez said. And when asked if his facial tattoos are an example of what he's talking about, he chuckled and said, "Yeah, they call them job stoppers for a reason."

Some of the profits support rehab programs and job training for former inmates reentering society.

"It also makes it hard when you have to do a background check just to find a place to live," Valdez explained.

"My heart is broken for the part of society that tends to get overlooked and kind of forgotten," said Krause.

Krause admits this start-up has been a long, hard grind. But if he can make it work, he'll create opportunities and a sense of purpose for people who just need a chance.
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