Two near-neighbors who have more than three decades of combined roasting experience have teamed up to launch Goodman Coffee Roasters in the historic St. Elmo district of Chattanooga, Tenn.
The new roasting outfit’s name comes from co-owner Ian Goodman, who began working for a roaster in high school before launching his first business in 1995. Goodman’s coffee roots run deep in the city, where he founded long-running Greyfriars Coffee and Tea before selling the company eight years ago. Goodman’s partner in the new venture is Aric Annear, who once roasted for Greyfriars from 2002-03 before relocating to Seattle and taking over ownership and roasting duties at Fremont Coffee Co., from which he has since departed.
“We live down the street from each other — we’re neighbors — and so it occurred to us, why not just start roasting together,” Annear said of the new business. To launch, Goodman and Annear involved another partner interested in the project whose most recent venture involves a distillery.
Under Goodman’s watch, Greyfriars became well-known in part for its wide selection of origin-specific coffees, a practice Goodman and Annear plan to work into the Goodman Coffee operation, as time and money permit.
“There are so many variables and differences that all these different countries and regions have to offer, and that’s part of the fun of it for me,” Goodman said, adding that experimenting with new coffees is part of his interest in the new company. “I like the idea of being able to do a lot more.”
For now, Goodman and Annear have been primarily working with importer Cafe Imports to source new coffees. The duo plans to expand sourcing operations in time, taking advantage of all the relationships they’ve built throughout the coffee world over the years.
While Goodman Coffee Roasters may have started over casual conversation — and it remains something of a passion project for the two partner roasters — Goodman and Annear told Daily Coffee News that revenue had already matched operational costs within four weeks of operation, mostly through direct-to-consumer sales. They’re opening the roastery doors most Saturdays to connect new customers to their ever-widening variety of coffees that tumble through their new 10-kilo drum machine supplied by Mill City Roasters, while also pursuing wholesale.
“We started this as a passion project but both of us have success as business owners so we’re definitely going to drive this,” Annear said. “There has been an explosion in micro roasters over the last decade. Right now we’re operating as a micro roastery because it’s a really lean business model, but both of us have experience in taking something small and making something big.”
Goodman and Annear each said the Chattanooga coffee landscape has changed dramatically since their early days roasting there, with a healthy crop of new micros popping up and introducing many coffee-curious consumers to lighter-than-traditional roast profiles.
“We profile everything individually, according to the acid profiles that we think work best with the bean,” Annear said of the Goodman Coffee approach. “We roast everything by hand with no automated roast-profiling software. We’re very close to the bean, very craft-focused. It’s just more fun.”