Last year, Jeff Evans started to roast his own coffee. The Forsyth County resident had been searching for the best micro-roasted coffee nearby but to little avail. All his favorite spots were in Atlanta, not a practical location to satisfy Evans’ regular coffee needs. So, he bought a roaster, ordered some coffee beans and promptly burned his first batch.
“It was brutal,” Evans said.
But Evans quickly improved, and he started to get consistently positive feedback from family, friends and people at the church that his family attends.
A marketer by trade, Evans’ professional impulses kicked in.
“I could certainly market this stuff,” Evans thought.
Now he is.
In January, Evans started Cumming Coffee Roasters, his company that delivers fresh-roasted specialty coffee in Forsyth County.
It’s something of a one-man operation. Evans’ wife, Tiffany, helps some with the marketing, and his 8-year-old son, Grayson, is an eager helper on deliveries, but this is largely Evans’ passion project.
Evans grew up in Buffalo, New York, in the late ‘90s when coffee shops not named Starbucks dotted the city. His favorite was Stimulance, a college coffee bar that’s since closed. Evans played drums in a band, and they regularly performed there. He loved how Stimulance allowed customers to connect as a community through coffee, the antithesis of the eventual trend toward grab-and-go shops.
“The coffee is supposed to be enjoyed,” Evans said. “It’s not just water. It’s not just caffeine. There’s heart and soul that gets put into this kind of stuff – a lot of it.”
Recently, a friend introduced Evans to the new movement in the United States toward small-batch roasted coffee in local shops that treat the drink similar to the wine industry with tastings and specialty blends. Evans was hooked, and his curiosity got the better of him. Soon, he was buying a roaster and searching for information on micro-roasting on the internet.
“I was able to kind of figure it out,” Evans said, “obviously by a lot of mistakes. That’s how we figure out a lot of things in life.”
Now, Evans has his process down. He buys beans from around the world and takes them to a small warehouse off Hwy. 369 where he roasts them. A software program controls the temperature and time, the most crucial factors for developing the beans’ flavor, he said. Evans logs everything about the process – bean color, time of day, outside temperature, the time of the beans’ first crack – and makes notes about the results.
It takes 48 hours for the beans to de-gas, Evans said, and then he packages them at home in 8-ounce bags for $9.95. The company offers free next-day delivery for orders in Forsyth County made Monday through Friday by 5 p.m. on its website.
And it’s taking off, Evans said. Early on, he advertised on a local Facebook group, Because Mom, and instantly got 15 orders. Through other Facebook ads and word of mouth, Evans has stayed busy fulfilling orders and making deliveries. He hopes a giveaway promotion for March will help, too.
Evans has bigger visions for Cumming Coffee Roasters. The company already offers limited apparel on its website and will soon have baked goods made by someone at their church. Evans hopes to start a monthly membership program. One day, Cumming Coffee Roasters could open a small café, Evans said, with separate rooms to access Wi-Fi and another to read “actual books.”
Regardless, Evans’ premise will be simple.
“What can I do to give great coffee to people in this town?” Evans said.