For Matt Adams, coffee isn't simply a liquid caffeine delivery system.
Coffee is a craft, with flavor developed through careful choosing of beans and tailored roasting techniques.
"A lot of people don't realize that coffee varies based on where you get it from," says the resident of Lansdale, Montgomery County.
Attention to flavor combined with a deep love of coffee brewed Backyard Beans, a micro-lot roasting company owned and operated by Adams and his wife, Laura.
Backyard Beans coffee, based in Lansdale, is sold every other Saturday at the Nazareth Farmers Market. (Matt and Laura grew up in Nazareth.)
The Nazareth market has been looking to expand its offerings, says Kevin Donahoe, manager of the Nazareth market.
"We brought them on board to have something different," Donahoe says.
Backyard Beans coffee is being sold at three other farmers markets and five specialty stores in suburban Philadelphia.
It's a pretty solid start for a company that began last year in the Adams' backyard (thus the name of the company).
Matt looked into ways he could roast beans out of their home in their spare time. He's a full-time consultant in Philadelphia while Laura works as a nurse.
In a very MacGyver-sorta way, he repurposed a BBQ grill roaster outfitted with a stainless steel drum and began to roast coffee in his backyard.
"I roasted 800 pounds of coffee in my yard," Matt says. "Four pounds a batch took about 20 minutes."
Those backyard batches first made their way to the Lansdale Farmers Market.
As their business expanded, the couple set up a commercial roaster in their home, which makes coffee production more efficient.
Backyard Beans is still a small-batch roaster, with all coffee roasted in 5-pound batches. It gets its beans from countries such as Brazil, Guatemala, Ethiopia and Peru through a New Jersey-based importer.
The coffee is organically sourced and "fair trade," something that Matt and Laura feel passionately about. Fair trade is a movement whose goal is to help small producers in developing countries to get a fair price for their coffee, provide ethical treatment for workers, and support sustainable and green practices.
"From an economic perspective fair trade is so beneficial to farmers," Matt says. "I look at things through that lens."
Backyard Beans is sold in 1 pound and half-pound bags of whole bean coffee. You can also grind it yourself at the markets.
Matt roasts the beans in a way that maximizes the characteristics that come from the bean of a specific origin.
Flavors vary and are seasonal but Laura points out a top seller, "Punch in the Face," a light French roast, with a dark, bold and smoky flavor.
There's also "Sumatra Ketiara," a medium-dark roast that produces a flavor that's part earthiness and part chocolately. It's made from single-origin beans, grown in the forests in the Takengon Highland surrounding Leuser National Park in central Aceh, North Sumatra. Single-origin coffee is from beans grown in one region. Coffee devotees will argue that single-origin coffees have more distinct tastes than those that are made from blends of beans from different areas.
Backyard Beans' "Hope Blend" is a mix of dark- and medium-roasted beans. The company will donate a portion of sales of this blend to organizations dedicated to helping communities and protecting the environment.
Proceeds from the blend have benefited: Manna on Main (Lansdale); Habitat for Humanity Montgomery County; North Penn Valley Boys & Girls Club; and Water is Basic. From each sale of the $12 coffee, $5 is donated. This blend is sold through their website and at the Lansdale and Hatboro farmers markets.
"We want to be a company that is focused on making an impact on our community," Matt says.
WHERE TO BUY THE BEANS
Some locations that sell Backyard Beans coffee:
•Nazareth Farmers Market, every-other Saturday, including Aug. 30, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
•Keystone Homebrew Supply, 435 Doylestown Road, Montgomeryville
•Kulp Spice Shoppe, 303 W. Main St., Lansdale
•Lansdale Farmers Market, every Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.Copyright © 2015, CT Now