"So, how did you get into the coffee business?”
We get asked this question a lot. You can't work in the newspaper business without drinking a lot of coffee —and believe me, we did. Over time, we began grinding our beans. Then John read an article about roasting beans at home with a hot air popcorn popper. From there, he advanced to a tabletop roaster. He would sit on the front porch on Saturday afternoon and roast our coffee for the week.
That was when friends started asking if they could buy our coffee. It happened often enough that we decided to test the waters. We handed out some samples and asked people to fill out a survey about our coffee and their coffee-buying habits. Armed with the results, we bought a 1-pound roaster on eBay, built a website with a GoDaddy template and started Buona Caffe Artisan Roasted Coffee in our kitchen in January 2010.
It wasn't long before we rented a whole 250 square feet of production space, bought a 12-pound roaster and began supplying coffee to local restaurants and whoever managed to find us down the alley that led to our office.
It was very much a nights-and-weekends operation until August 2011, when John was laid off for the second time in 2 1/2 years. At that point, we closed the book on our newspaper career and went into roasting coffee full-time.
About a gazillion things have happened since then. The biggest was the opening of our coffee bar on June 13, 2013. We have been voted best coffee by the readers of Augusta Magazine for six years in a row. FodorsTravel.com named us one of the top indie coffee shops in America and we started roasting coffee for the Georgia Governor's Mansion in 2014.
That is the super-abbreviated version of the story. You can keep up with us day to day on Facebook. And of course we love it when folks visit the coffee bar. Come hang out, have a cup of coffee and share your story with us.