“Responsibly harvested, divinely roasted,” are two things the owners of Black Powder Roasting Co. in Mooresville look forward to bringing residents and businesses in the area who try their coffee.
As one of a relative handful of coffee roasting businesses in North Carolina, Black Powder uses that four-word phrase as its motto – geared to educate people about responsibly harvested coffee beans, and creating a unique taste through the roasting process.
Located at 256 Raceway Drive in the Lakeside Business Park since March, husband and wife owners Dave and Melissa Stahlman have turned their love for coffee into an entrepreneur’s dream, from where they sell coffee to area grocery stores, markets and coffee houses.
The Stahlmans have lived in Mooresville for 14 years, but said they had trouble finding a good quality cup of coffee here. And after starting their business in their home almost 2 1/2 years ago, Dave said they were finally able to find the right place where they could expand, joining a relatively small fraternity of North Carolina coffee roasting companies.
“It took us a while to find the right place, since we needed something with a loading dock and a big enough space for roasting,” he said. “There was definitely a void in this area for this kind of market. Our goal is to educate people about coffee and change people’s mindset’s about it and let them know that high quality coffee is available.”
The 1,826 square-foot space includes 650 square-feet of store front and office space, with the rest attributing for its temperature controlled warehouse where the coffee beans are stored.
“The best thing about having a small business like this is being able to pick my own (coffee) beans,” said Dave. “We picked 15 single origin beans, fair-trade, or rain forest-certified beans for our company out of the 80 that we tried and had the highest cupping score.”
Using Specialty Coffee Association of America standards for processing and cupping samples, Dave noted its company’s beans have a cupping score of 85 which was calculated using a flavor profile evaluation form to score a coffee’s fragrance/aroma, flavor, aftertaste, acidity, mouth-feel, and balance.
At this scoring level, Dave said they have been able to create a high quality, with low bitterness, great tasting coffee.
“Eighty-five or higher is the magic number,” he said. “We want to teach people that not all coffee is equal.”
Through the harvesting process, Dave works with importers with a focus on certified, environmentally agriculture and fair trade labor use to find super-hard beans grown in high elevations where cold nights help crops mature slowly for a more intense flavor profile. Those beans account for less than 5 percent of the coffee grown worldwide.
The Stahlmans also purchase beans which support social needs within the source countries, such as Indonesia, Ethiopia, Sumatra, Nicaragua and Panama.
“This is great because we know where the beans are coming from and so will our customers,” said Dave.
The green coffee beans are stored in a temperature controlled warehouse, and are not mixed prior to roasting as each origin needs special care in the roaster.
Dave recently invested in a 25-pound roaster called The San Franciscan to up their production as they continue to grow.
This type of roaster has allowed the Stahlmans to assure consistency in their product as beans are evenly and gently roasted, as well as selecting temperature setting and airflow to develop an authentic roast profile, closely matched to each bean’s origin.
It isn’t until after roasting, that the Stahlmans may combine coffees that complement each other in acidity and even create proprietary blends.
Dave noted his oldest son recently asked what would happen if they combined two types of coffee beans. Not knowing the outcome, Dave said they tried it and it turned out well. That blend has now become Thomas’ Blend, he said.
The Stahlmans also have a line of cold-brewed coffee concentrate for creating iced coffees or be used in mixed drinks. Because the cold brew is so strong, it must be diluted with milk or cream, Dave said.
Black Powder Roasting coffees can be found at Lowe’s Foods in Mooresville, where Dave noted they often have a booth set up for tastings, HEbrew’s Coffeehouse in downtown Mooresville, Two Sisters Market Café in Terrell, Madelyn’s Coffee and Tea in Cornelius, and Coffee Boss on Statesville Road in Cornelius, as well as Mugs Coffee in Charlotte, and produce market in Salisbury.
Dave noted certain blends have been created for several of the area coffeehouses including a organic blend for Two Sisters.
“Now we’re getting more into the specialty markets so it’s nice to see more specialty shops opening up around here,” said David. “And see that kind of growth in this area.”
Dave said since December of 2013, they have seen a 34 percent growth rate each month, are a roasting 140 pounds of coffee in a week. He expects to have an LLC status by January of 2015.
A grand-opening ribbon-cutting celebration for Black Powder Roasting Co. was held Tuesday by the Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce. The public can tour the facility Monday-Thursday by appointment, or stop by on Fridays between noon and 7 p.m. or Saturdays anytime between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. to try their freshly roasted and brewed coffee selections.
For more information about Black Powder Roasting Co. visit www.blackpowder roasting.com.