ASHLAND -- As customers step into the Goldberry Roasting Company's new retail space on Claremont Avenue, they're greeted with the smell of freshly brewed coffee and often a smile from co-owner Pete Cooper, who is quick to answer any of their coffee-related questions.
Last week on shop's second day of its soft opening, he appeared eager to explain the menu to a small group of customers. He said when roasted correctly, it's possible to recognize unique characteristics of each type coffee bean and to identify its origin.
"Anybody can roast coffee, it's not a hard process, but we and other good roasters use specific profiles based on the bean. Your Ethiopian is going to be roasted different than your Sumatran, and that's what makes the difference," Cooper said. "We're not over roasting. We're roasting it correctly."
Cooper's father Doug opened The Goldberry Coffee Company nearly a decade ago as a cottage industry. Doug began roasting his own coffee from home after finding other roasts unsatisfactory. He had ordered coffee from all over the world, but none had the flavor he desired.
"He decided if he wanted it done right he'd have to do it himself, so he did," Pete Cooper said. "And it caught on. Friends and family started wanting it."
The Coopers realized there was a market for the product, so they began seeking out clients and heard positive feedback. This growth prompted the search for a building.
About a year ago, they leased space at 1310 Claremont Ave. Suite C, next to Transformation Network. They remodeled the space with intentions to roast their coffee from the location and to open a storefront for coffee-drinkers in their hometown. Customers can buy coffee by the bag or by the cup.
Growing up in Ashland, Cooper had long dreamed of a place like this -- a place where people would gather over a few cups of coffee and enjoy the atmosphere so much, that they'd stay awhile.
"It's been a long process to finally get where we're at, but it feels great. It's exactly what I imagined," Cooper said.
He says his dad is "kind of a genius" when it comes to roasting coffee.
"He can taste the coffee and know what happened if something went wrong," Cooper said.
Since his father works full-time as a business consultant and also serves as president of Goldberry and leader of two non-profit organizations, Pete joined Goldberry full-time in the transition to a commercial space.
When starting Goldberry, Doug Cooper also founded a sister nonprofit organization, called Coffee Growing Community. His intent was to help poor coffee farmers earn more money for their product so they could improve their lives and communities.
"I thought, 'What if we would start to partner with communities of farmers, offer them a really good price for their coffee, eliminate the middleman and sell the coffee here?' It could help stimulate their economy," Doug said in a December 2018 interview.
That vision is what led Doug to choose Goldberry as the name for the for-profit business.
"I loved the symbolism of what she represented," Doug said of Goldberry, who was a character in The Lord of the Rings books who nurtured hobbits back to life.
Doug began working with a cluster of communities in Mexico, but he quickly learned it would take more time and money than he expected to help communities produce the kind of high-quality coffee that can be sold for higher prices. The non-profit began doing things like investing in higher-quality coffee plants and paying for villagers to go to college and then return to their coffee-producing villages. As soon as next year, the Coopers will begin selling coffee from the communities with which his non-profit organization partners.
Meanwhile, Goldberry, the for-profit arm, has been roasting and selling coffee sourced from other regions and using some of the profits from the business to fund the non-profit organization.
Pete Cooper said Goldberry features more than 20 different coffee blends -- some mainstream and others unique. All are high quality, he said.
The location is still in its soft opening phase. Regular hours are yet to be established. For now, hours are typically 7 a.m. to early afternoon on weekdays. Hours will be established on Saturday's, too, but they are yet to be determined.
Eventually, cuppings, tastings and classes will be held regularly at the storefront.,
For more information about Goldberry Roasing, visit www.goldberryroasting.com.