Roasty Toasty

Stop by Banyan Coffee Co. in Palmetto for a Cup of Joe and a Show

Josh and Abbey Schmitt want you to drink more coffee.

By Lauren Jackson February 28, 2023

Ethiopian coffee at Banyan Coffee Co.

The air is a little sweeter in Palmetto thanks to the addition of Banyan Coffee Co. A coffee-scented aroma hangs in the air as you walk up to the roastery, which has been operating since September 2022.

Husband and wife duo Josh and Abbey Schmitt whirl around the roasting room, pouring green coffee beans into their seafoam green roaster, labeling containers of previously roasted beans, and preparing their team to separate the roasted beans for retail and wholesale customers.

“Coffee started as a hobby,” Josh explains. “We were living in Oregon and I thought, ‘I think I can do this myself.’ I started with a popcorn popper, four or five of them lined up for roasting at home. And then once we came back to Bradenton, we started selling at the farmers market downtown. I got a little commercial roaster and then it all snowballed in a good way.”

It wasn’t long until local businesses like Cremesh European Restaurant and the Anna Maria General Store took note and started ordering Banyan Coffee to sell at their own shops.

The roaster at Banyan Coffee Co.

“We started getting some wholesale accounts and a little truck that helped us promote the business and allowed us to do events, and it gradually built up. We wanted to open a shop that was primarily a roastery, but allows people to still see the process and how it works,” Josh says.

And at Banyan, onlookers can gaze past the glass-walled café to see the Schmitts roasting away.

“We want people to see the whole process of everything, to know where their coffee is coming from," Josh says. "We want people to learn. If we can get people to drink specialty and higher-grade coffee, we’re doing a great job. We’re just excited people are drinking coffee,” says Josh.

Green beans prior to roasting.

Green beans prior to roasting.

The Schmitts insist that they want to provide better coffee without pretension, to demystify a product that can often fall into snob territory. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that they don’t know their stuff. Abbey talks about growing climates like a sommelier talks about terroir. She understands the fragrance of different varieties and uses descriptors like grassy, jammy and chocolatey to describe different aromas.

“We try not to do blends,” she says. “We like single-origin coffee. We do make an espresso blend, but that’s it.”

“We would rather give you something already in its natural state and let you decide what you want to do with it. Single-origin is how it started, it’s its original intention,” Josh adds.

The shop features anywhere from 10 to 12 varieties of single-origin coffee at a given time.

“We want to have varieties from where people want, and sometimes we’ll rotate others in," Abbey says. 'Like right now, we have some beans from Yemen, but once they're gone, we’ll try something new,” Abbey says.

Listening to the Schmitts explain the roasting process, shouting over the sound of beans being zapped with cool air to bring them down to temperature, is like an episode of the show “How it’s Made,” but with far more pizazz.

But roasting coffee isn’t the only thing that gets the Schmitts out of bed in the morning. They emphasize the importance of supporting local businesses whenever possible.

Banyan Coffee Co.

“People who have invested in small businesses like us aren’t just supporting us. They are supporting our wholesalers and the growers. Our coffee is ethically sourced, which means the grower is getting paid a wage that is sustainable,” Josh says. “There is a ripple effect on the whole economy when you support a small local business.”

The couple agrees that they're "so happy" to be in Palmetto, where customers are invited to visit the roastery for a glimpse of the roasting process and a delicious cup of coffee, served at the front of the shop. And if you can’t make it to Palmetto, they’ve built an e-commerce business as well, shipping their specialty roasts around the country. If you have a favorite country for coffee production, chances are, Banyan has it. 

Banyan Coffee Co. is open from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at 1110 10th St. W., Palmetto. For more information call (941) 219-5282 or click here.

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