Banyan Coffee Co. started the way many small food businesses do. Someone starts making a special item for friends and family, friends and family start demanding more, and pretty soon the operation becomes overwhelming.
That's what happened to Josh Schmitt, who began roasting coffee beans with a popcorn maker and sharing them with loved ones. As demand for his beans grew, he started buying more popcorn makers and then, finally, invested in a small roasting machine.
For more than two years now, Schmitt and his wife, Abbey, have been selling beans under the label Banyan Coffee Co. You can find Banyan's charming, street-legal mini-truck set up at the Bradenton Farmers' Market every Saturday, or order online and have the beans dropped off at your door.
The Schmitts take coffee seriously. They're careful about where they get their beans from and like to highlight single-origin beans from family-owned farms around the world. But Josh says the company also strives to demystify the coffee experience and tries to steer clear of complicated jargon.
"We want coffee to be more inviting, more welcoming," says Josh, "but we also have that serious side. We want quality coffee." Think of it like a mullet haircut, Josh says: "business in the front, party in the back."
The company sells a range of beans that come from Colombia, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, Uganda, Costa Rica, Honduras, Ethiopia and Indonesia, plus custom blends. You can select a one-time purchase or sign up for regular deliveries. Prices range from $13 for a 12-ounce bag to $64 for a five-pound batch. Home delivery in the Bradenton and Sarasota area is free for any order that costs more than $25.
In addition to its beans, Banyan makes a cold brew concentrate, and can even set you up with the gear you need to maximize your coffee experience at home.
Josh says the company emphasizes supplying beans that have been roasted very recently. After a few weeks, beans can begin to grow stale, which leads to unpleasant flavors in your cup. Banyan's bags are stamped with the date on which the beans were prepared, so you know what you're getting.
"We live and die by freshness," says Josh. "I want it to be absolutely fresh."