When The Beachy Bean owners Amy and Dennis Marcoux decided to open a coffeehouse in the small northeastern coastal community of Millsboro, Del., they wanted to make it a place in which both they and their patrons felt at home. So they furnished it into a lounge and a library where people could relax and work or just hang out, using comfy, refurbished and sometimes vibrantly repainted second-hand items.
When in the course of that shopping they discovered a table that they actually wanted for their own home, they did take it home and moved their own home dining room table into the café instead, which couldn’t be more apropos of the fact that the Marcouxs’ love of roasting was another household joy they brought with them into the commercial sphere.
After some years roasting on a Fresh Roast at home, they couldn’t help but consider how it compared to other professionally roasted coffees they were trying at the time. “I was like, ‘Oh. Ours tastes better! Why don’t we do this for real?'” Dennis Marcoux recently Daily Coffee News. Seeing as how they didn’t have the $2 million on hand to fulfill the dream of opening a brewery, they set their sights on a roastery instead, which came to fruition eight months later, in March of this year.
The Beachy Bean café and lounge has since then been open for business in the Sea Esta shopping center, serving breakfast and lunch as well as an in-house roasted coffee program centered on their Artisanal 6 roaster installed in a backroom. “I was trying to find the best electric, and they’re amazing,” Marcoux said of the fluid-bed roaster that allowed him to enter the industry in a space without a convenient gas hookup. “The thing’s a beast. In a full day’s work we can knock out about 100 pounds.”
That’s plenty of capacity in catering to the customers in the café, which seats about 20. Marcoux, a former chef at the Dogfish Head brewpub, has 20 years of experience in the restaurant business that he brings to bear on the craft of roasting coffee.
“It’s like cooking. You have a raw ingredient, it’s what you do with it; if you have a great short-rib, you’re not going to cook it medium rare,” said Marcoux, who accumulated knowledge through reading and through chatting with other area roasters before taking it his own way.
Marcoux likens the roasting process to searing scallops. “When it’s nice and gold brown it’s time to turn over. A coffee bean kind of does the same,” said Marcoux. “You’ve got to keep an eye on time and temperature and all that, but it’ll tell you.”
The green coffees that speak to Marcoux through the glass chamber of the Artisanal machine are sourced through Zephyr Green Coffee Importers and other import partners. At the counter, a Venezia espresso machine anchors the straightforward drinks menu, rounded out with Bunn machine drip, as well as French press — another homestyle touch.
The path ahead for Beachy Bean is to start spreading their fresh-roasted, Fair Trade products around the region through wholesale and online retail. Marcoux said several local bakeries, shops and farmers market sellers are committed, and that a concerted push into the market will come this fall.