Home roasted beans jazz up coffee scene

Columbia business Dry Fork Coffee sells specialty coffee roasted in the owner’s garage.
Courtesy of Drew Piester

Dry Fork Coffee, a new small business in Columbia, was borne not out of a need to make money but a need to save it.

“I started a few years back looking at the budget trying to find ways to save money,” founder Ron Giles says. “Coffee’s one of those things that you drink every morning, so I started Google searching and found out about home roasting.”

In the beginning, most of Giles’ experiments involved smoking out his apartment with beans in a cast iron skillet, though his perfectionist sensibility took over and he started reading everything he could find to improve his coffee-roasting skills.

“A fundraising opportunity came up through an old church of ours,” Giles says. “They were trying to build a school in Ethiopia, which is my favorite coffee bean, and pretty much every coffee bean from around the world came from Ethiopia at some point.”

Giles took the opportunity to start roasting as much coffee as he could and donate the proceeds to the church’s project.

When he moved to Columbia with his wife to attend MU for his master’s degree in physical therapy, the business kept growing.

“I roast out of my garage,” Giles says. “I’m in the process of getting a health inspection knocked out so I can start getting into the local grocery stores.”

For now, Giles sells his beans on Facebook and by email requests.

Going against current coffee trends purported by Starbucks and other large coffee sellers, Giles roasts his beans on the lighter side of the spectrum.

“I just try my best to represent the bean for what it is and bring to light all the flavors the farmers and processors and everyone along the way worked so hard to create,” Giles says. “I’m kind of the last person who gets it and has a hand in what it becomes, and I just try and do my best to make it taste the best.”

Giles prides himself on preserving the different flavors of different bean varieties.

“You can really taste the difference in what a Brazilian may have to offer and what an Ethiopian bean might have to offer,” Giles says. “It’s a lot harder to do that the darker you go.”

Since he and his wife currently have their first baby on the way, Giles is currently planning to keep the project local and get his beans on the shelves of local coffee shops and grocery stores. Beginning this weekend, Dry Fork Coffee will be sold at both Clovers locations as well as online.

To taste the time and research Giles puts toward his coffee roasting, Dry Fork Coffee can be ordered by the pound on Facebook or via email at dryforkcoffee@gmail.com.

_Edited by Katherine Rosso | krosso@themaneater.com_

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