Where do I start? Hard to process so much information. I went over to Buona Caffe this morning to pick up some coffee before they headed out of town for the week. Wow am I glad I did. Not only would I get my coffee, I got to drink coffee, from a Chemex no less, and had some great conversation with John and Pat Curry.
John and Pat Curry are the owners and operators of Buona Caffe in Augusta, Georgia. They have been home roasters for years now, and have within the last year or so put that knowledge and experience to use in establishing their brand and product. Many of you in the Augusta area know them from the Augusta River Market, I think it is safe to say they could be a fixture there. It is time to take that River Market coffee experience with them and take it year round. They are featured at Sundrees Urban Market Crums on Central in Augusta (they are next door to Crums, literally). You can contact them via their website or phone and order some coffee. You should.
So going into their shop one of the first things you see is their red roaster. This is a 10lb. Primo model. This is apparently the roaster that started Land of a Thousand Hills Coffees. They got a good deal on it. This enabled Buona to really pick up the pace and quantity. Their skill is impressive. Their coffee is consistent from bag to bag. I got to see the large bags of green beans. I was mildly surprised when I heard how much a pound they paid. I did not expect it to be cheap but there you go. They have to be quick and clever when buying coffee. John was telling me about one time where he had to buy the beans while the ship was in transit because the bags were selling off at a constant stream. So imagine, you have to buy coffee before seeing it. That’s risky. It worked out for them though.
As an artisan roaster you have to be able to change the attitudes or expectations of potential customers. The coffee industrial giants are so ingrained on the restaurant industry that it can take efforts to change perceptions. Buona just did that with a local restaurant in downtown Augusta. The coffee alone will get them more business.
Roasting coffee is not something you do just to do it. It is not even something necessarily you go do to make money. You have to be passionate about it. John and Pat are definitely passionate about roasting their coffee. Talking to them listening to them getting a feel from them. They do care quite a bit about what they are doing. They have a standard on how they will roast and serve their coffee. They own their brand they own image. They know their product is more than a pretty label. Heck they even got coffee chairs and a table. Like with coffee cups in the metal work. How cool is that? Pat has putting a lot of effort into learning about coffee and its history. She also showed me her copy of “Uncommon Grounds” which reinforced my want for the book. She has made a study of coffee history. Understanding coffee better is never a bad thing. They understand coffee culture and are using it to provide good coffee. In speaking of good coffee…
Wow the coffee we had was good. I had never had coffee via a Chemex. It produced a clean cup. I witnessed a coffee bloom. I have seen it before, but I was unaware that it had a name, also breaking the crust. We all talked about coffee brewing and how peoples eyes were opened to coffee by experiencing it via different brew methods. We first had the Brazilian Mogiana, this coffee presents a welcome bouquet of aroma. The taste is a flavor explosion. It has a little nutty flavor and is balanced. In speaking of flavor, John was telling me that they did have one rule, they would not flavor their coffee. I applaud them greatly for this. Coffee comes with flavors naturally grown in. If the coffee is roasted and brewed correctly, it can have lots of flavor. We also had their Ethiopian Sidamo, wow, good. I am a fool for African coffees, this stuff is a knock out. Fruity wine tastes, wonderful.
Pat you are a sweetheart for talking with my son so much. My child is very inquisitive and wants to know what everything is and does, not only did she find time to talk to me about their shop tell me its history their plans but she managed to watch my son while being endlessly patient.
So check out Buona Caffe, if you are in the Augusta area stop by and pick some up, it is well worth your time to take a trip to Central Ave. If you are not in Augusta, order online from them. They even have a map of the US on a wall with push pins showing where they have shipped their coffee. The country is looking red.
- A good reason to drive to downtown Augusta, New Moon Cafe (sanitybycoffee.com)
- Do you Roast at home? WHY do you love coffee? Tell me.. (sanitybycoffee.com)
- New Moon Cafe- Augusta, GA (findingcoffee.wordpress.com)