A new company in Lexington, Ky., Archetype Coffee Co. is in many ways an archetypical example of today’s bootstrapping startup micro roastery.
The one-man operation — not to be confused, somewhat ironically, with the Omaha, Neb.-based Archetype Coffee — is the passion-based pursuit of Louisville native David Barnes, who recently launched the brand and began making coffees available to consumers directly online.
Barnes is largely self-taught in the roasting trade and craft, although after purchasing a 1-kilo North machine from Mill City Roasters, he received some formal training from Todd Arnette of the Academy of Coffee Excellence before roasting and selling commercially.
Barnes is sourcing his greens through Minneapolis-based Cafe Imports, and current offerings include a single-origin, natural-process coffee from the Kayon Mountain farm in Ethiopia’s Shakiso region, and an Archetype signature blend called Elixir, composed of coffees from Guatemala, Colombia and Ethiopia.
“When I taste coffees, I am looking for inherent properties coming forward in the cup as well as uniqueness. Of course, I’m also looking for balance and uniformity,” Barnes recently told Daily Coffee News. “We want to offer our customers consistency in the fact that all of our products are perceived as great coffee in their cup.”
In its nascent stages, Archetype has already partnered with Louisville-based Great Flood Brewing Co. for a special release commemorating the brewery’s 400th batch: The Great Flood Maple Coffee Porter. Barnes said the current plan is to continue experimenting with new coffees while building a social media following and enhancing the consumer experience on the Archetype website.
Beyond that, Barnes said he’s willing to test the limits of the brand. “We really have no desire to be the next coffee brand offered in shops or gas stations across the lower 48 states, or the other two for that matter,” he said. “What we do want is to continue being authentic, unique, and to grow the brand organically. One thing I’ve realized during my short time in this business is that the operation can become as big or as small as we want it to be. I am excited for the journey.”