A city that lives and breathes with the past like few other places in North America, the city of Savannah, Georgia is an absolutely beautiful place. It’s nearly 300 years old, and was founded the same day the state of Georgia was founded. Home to some very real pirate history, Savannah was also the backdrop for the film “Forrest Gump“, and the setting for John Berendt’s classic true crime novel “Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil” (director Clint Eastwood’s film adaptation was shot on location). Think tree-lined streets, hanging moss, hidden gardens and historic homes
Savannah is known as a tourism destination for its history, architecture and gracious southern charm, but like most cities, it has its fair share of vacant warehouses and industrial spaces, too. One such warehouse will house the new location of PERC Coffee Roasters, a wholesale roasting operation first established in 2010, and preparing to move into a brand new roasting facility in the coming weeks. We love great big warehouse projects, and theirs fit the bill, resulting some of our favorite photographs published thus far in Sprudge.com’s 2013 Build-Outs of Summer series.
You did not need more reasons to visit Savannah, but now you have one.
As told to Sprudge.com by Jared Hall.
Can you tell us a bit about your new space?
For the past three years we’ve been operating in a 400 square foot shop in the Starland district of Savannah, GA. We’re really excited to move in an old 2500 square foot warehouse that’s part of a compound of other great independent businesses on the East Side of town, including an organic community garden sponsored by Whole Foods and a southern pine reclaimed wood shop. It’s got a very industrial and blue-collar vibe- right in line with our philosophy about coffee. We’ll be installing a glass roll-up behind a pair of wooden bay doors, which separate us from a big courtyard. The support we’ve received from all our really loyal accounts has been overwhelming. It’s great to work with other passionate entrepreneurs who are focused on quality and we’ll be able to offer a lot back to them after the move.
The bar will be a supplement to the roaster and we want people to take five with their coffee, so we won’t be serving to-go. There’ll be a lean bar and one long I-beam table with a glass top for customers to sit and talk, which will double as our cupping table. The new facility will also host training classes for baristas and coffee enthusiasts.
What’s your approach to serving coffee?
Our approach to serving coffee is similar to playing your favorite album for a friend. You crank it up loud, smile, and share in discovery. Do you remember the first time you tasted a natural Ethiopian? The fruit bombs that exploded in your mouth were a gateway to the nuances of a washed Yirgacheffe. Our goal is to lead our community to heightened coffee experiences, and our journey to awaken people to truly amazing coffee starts with sourcing. Coffee’s ability to connect us with the tireless efforts of the long line of workers who brought us this wonderful product is a cornerstone of our coffee education program.
We are constantly researching and experimenting with brew methods and roast profiles. Our goal is to remain rooted in solid theory, but always open to new ideas. We all have backgrounds in music and like to look at the roast like you would look at mixing a song. Each frequency range is equally important, but they don’t all get equal emphasis. Maybe a creamy Brazilian wants to be a down tempo funk groove. One of our favorites right now is the washed Papua New Guinea Kimel AA. It’s like a psychedelic space rock ballad. It’s got tons of shimmering highs, feel-good mids, and a firm, understated foundation. We’re relentlessly pursuing the perfect cup.
PERC COFFEE is strictly a wholesale roaster so we won’t have traditional café service. However, a training facility and a tasting room are in the works. We’ll invite people into our “home” to try coffee the way we do. There will be weekly public cuppings and presentations to walk-ins. We are big fans of A/B comparisons like letting folks try washed and natural coffees from the same origin side by side or having a single origin prepared two-ways, as espresso and pour-over. Another interesting lesson is to taste coffees two, five, and ten days off the roast. These are the kinds of things that excite us and we are looking forward to sharing them with everyone.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We are excited about the arrival our new Diedrich CR25 Roaster, which is being custom built for us. We’re also putting in a La Marzocco GB/5 finished in matte black to match our new roaster along with Mazzer Robur E grinders. The old IR12 has been faithful these past years and she’ll be cozied up to the new one. Loads of manual brew devices will be available at our tasting bar including the Chemex, Clever, Hario V60, and Hario Siphon.
On the production side of things, we’ve got a Mahlkonig VTA6S for any bulk or retail grinding. We’ll have a couple sweet heat sealers at either end of the packing wall.
On the importing side of things, we’ve been working with Royal, BRASC, and Keffa and have begun forging relationships with Café Imports and Ninety Plus for next year’s portfolio. That Yirg Z that just hit the streets is dynamite.
4. What’s your hopeful target opening month? What’s the new address?
September 2013, and our new address will be 1802 East Broad Street, in Savannah, Georgia.
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