Let’s get the facts first about the most popular beverage in the world - coffee.
Americans consume 450 million cups of coffee every day, with over 400 billion cups consumed yearly around the world.
That’s a lot of beans with nearly 25 million farmers worldwide depending on coffee crops for their economic livelihood, according to “The Book of Incredible Information” published by West Side Publishing.
“Coffee is one of the top-traded commodities in the world,” said Tim Monson, who began Monsoon Roastery - yes, that’s right, Monson with an extra ‘o’ - with his wife, Andrea, in early 2018.
It goes without saying that the couple enjoys “a good cup of joe,” but they wanted more - they wanted the best cup of coffee that would knock their socks off.
Monsoon Roastery, located in Gasoline Alley in Springfield, was born out of that very desire and to bring high-quality, freshly roasted coffee to local residents, businesses and their partners.
So, Tim brought his knowledge of the service industry after working at various cafés, where he learned more about coffee and its origins - and Andrea brought her expertise in research, marketing and brand management to the table, and the rest as they say is history.
“My wife was pregnant with our daughter and we decided it was time to do something for ourselves, to support ourselves, and to bring our own dream to reality instead of supporting someone else’s,” Tim said.
For now, the quest to find the perfect cup begins with brokers in the United States who work with farms from around the world. Tim’s ultimate goal, however, is to travel the world at some point doing his own research and buying.
“I have conversations with our brokers and sometimes directly with the farms they represent, and it’s important that they share our philosophy of sustainable farming practices and that they have an impact on their local communities. Sustainability is key, meaning meeting society’s present food and textile needs without compromising the ability for current or future generations to meet their needs,” Tim said.
Socially and environmentally conscious, the couple believes in reducing, reusing and recycling. Everything inside their roastery is made from repurposed materials and they have established composting programs with their wholesale partners, run on 100% wind power energy, and use compostable material at the roastery and special events held there.
A visit to the Monsoon coffee store - you can purchase coffee bags, swag and cold brew online, as well as order online grab and go on the days they are open - is an adventure that will stimulate your taste buds, broaden your knowledge of faraway places, and give you a giggle or two with the names chosen for their blends. There is Flavasaurus Rex -Medium Roast (a seasonal blend, which means once the coffee sack is gone, so is the blend), Liquid Sunshine 2.1 - Light-Medium Roast, Organic Panic - Medium-Dark Roast, SoulRave 6-1 - Dark Roast, SweetSpot - Sugarcane Decaf, Overtime Single Origin Robusta, and Monsoon Expresso Blend to blow you away. All of the blends are made in small batches using an Ashe fluid bed roaster, and digital profiles are used to consistently create the same coffees batch after batch.
“Tim will say to me we have a new coffee and need a name for it. So, I will ask him where it is from, what are its characteristics, and is there anything interesting about the country it is from…....and we also try to draw in pop culture to the name. One of my favorite names was a line from rapper The Notorious B.I.G.’s song ‘Big Poppa’ that went ‘I love it when you call me Big Poppa.’ This particular coffee was from Papua, New Guinea, so we called it I Love It When You Call Me Big Papua - New Guinea. I designed a label for the coffee that was a tape cassette and the name and graphic resonated with people who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s and it made them laugh,” Andrea said.
But the couple’s creativity and fun with their product doesn’t stop there. Tim and Andrea make every single bag by hand, from their stamp to their seal. Each bag also includes a history behind the blend to educate coffee lovers about the bean and farm that went into making their brew.
For example, anyone who purchases their Liquid Sunshine 2.1 - Light-Medium Roast will learn it is from the Sidamo region of Ethiopia and features strong, fruity blueberry notes, and that some say Ethiopia is where the coffee plant was originally discovered in the 8th century. As for their SoulRave 6.1, it is a blend of two coffees. One coffee is from the Yirgacheffe region of southern Ethiopia. Awash River is a new naturally processed coffee from smallholder farmers serviced by the river Awash. These farmers rely on the great river and its many tributaries to cultivate coffee and sustain their communities.
Monsoon’s fresh roasted coffee bags and Nitro Cold Brew cans are also available for purchase at their Espresso Bar which opened in the summer of 2019.
“Coffee is inviting in nature. It’s not uncommon to want to meet with a friend or new business partner over a cup of coffee. Now we have people from all walks and professions coming together at our Roastery over a cup of coffee,” Andrea said.
Visitors to the Espresso Bar can also purchase artisanal pastries from different bakeries and restaurants every day and on Friday/Saturday they host a different food truck or mobile kitchen to add to the festive atmosphere.
The Espresso Bar fulfills the couple’s mission to “cross-promote so that the community can benefit from various high-quality products. This approach to partnerships helps to boost the local economy.”
Outdoor socially distant patio seating is available at the Espresso Bar which is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The current coronavirus pandemic is one of the reasons you won’t find the Monsoon brand at your local farmer’s market right now, Andrea noted about the couple’s decision to begin their own online farmer’s market called Provisions.
“We started to talk about it back in April as a way to provide a safer alternative for those people really at risk for the coronavirus to be able to get curated local goods from the area. It was a natural for us because we already had our own distribution network to be able to deliver to people. We launched the new project in June in collaboration with Urban Artisan Farm, which is also located in Gasoline Alley, offering local produce, local meat options, local breads, mushroom, honey, maple syrup, jams and jellies and more, including a type of clarified butter call Dhee,” Tim said.
After searching the globe to find some of the best coffee beans to share with customers, Tim has his favorites.
“I have two really key origins that are my favorites. The first is El Salvador, there is just something about it. There are a couple of farms there that I really appreciate and I sometimes feel they are underrated. I had a coffee from El Salvador that honestly came to my view what coffee could be. It was that first cup that blew my mind without cream and sugar, so I’ve always had a fondness for that. My second favorite origin is Cameroon. It’s a really underrated part of Africa. Their beans are often undervalued and came from a Dutch colonist who transplanted coffees there from the Jamaica Blue Mountains. The result is something absolutely wonderful,” he said.
As for what makes a great cup of coffee, Tim offered his thoughts on what sends him into coffee heaven.
“For me it would be slightly fruity and sweet, not too acidic or bitter to give you a pleasant drinking experience where you take a sip and say, ‘Ah, that’s great,’ and you want to take a couple more sips right away,” he said.
Monsoon Roastery is located at 270 Albany St. in Springfield. In addition to purchasing coffee at the Roastery, their brews are available for drinking and buying at many various locations throughout New England. A partial listing of their partners is available on their website.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT MONSOONROASTERY.COM OR CALL 413-366-1123