Inside Tampa, Florida’s 7vnth Sun Brewery taproom is the first retail location of Alert Coffee Co., a small-batch roasting company launched earlier this year.
Crafting high-quality drinks based on beans roasted freshly by Alert Co-Founder and Roaster Neal Beegle, the coffee company serves as the morning attraction before giving way for sudsier but similarly crafty libations at the Seminole Heights brewery.
The coffee company was founded by Beegle with a 1-kilo Mill City roaster installed in his Tampa home garage. That machine continues to guide roast profiles that are now executed for production on a Diedrich IR-12 machine now up and running in a 500-square-foot area within the production space of another local beer-maker, 81Bay Brewing.
“Just roasting and beer collaborations here — no brewed coffee for sale,” Beegle said of the 81Bay relationship. “We are currently working to put the Mill City in 81Bay beside its big brother to create a full operation from sample to profile to production roasting, all in one space.”
Meanwhile, from wooden cart built by Beegle, business partner Donnie Kessler, Beegle’s father-in-law and a contractor friend, a fleet of Mahlkönig grinders preps beans for extractions through Hario V60 manual pourover equipment, a dual Fetco XTS batch brewer outfitted with aftermarket Litmus Spray Heads, or a 2-group Synesso MVP Hydra espresso machine.
Said Beegle, “We utilize different pressure profiles for each coffee, which, thanks to the Hydra, are shockingly consistent and repeatable using volumetric pressure recipes.”
Having recently tailored a Guatemalan coffee for inclusion in a 7venth Sun porter, Beegle noted the copacetic relationship between coffee and craft beer. He and Kessler are also expecting to tap into the existing customer base in the Seminole Heights neighborhood.
“The location of 7venth Sun is in a very food-and-beverage-centric part of Tampa that is very residential and without a spacious indoor coffee shop,” said Beegle. “The hours are complementary, with a small overlap in the early afternoon. The ability to share space is beneficial to both of us.”
Another way Alert Coffee appeals to the culinary spirit of the community is through a monthly special drink concocted by a barista. Each month, all baristas are encouraged to create an original drink, and a company-wide tasting results in the monthly special. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of that drink go straight to the barista.
Said Beegle, “We feel this encourages creativity and shows our appreciation for their skill/craft.”
The company is also hoping to reach workplace-related goals, including 25-60% higher than average Tampa barista compensation, and access to continued education, including participation in green coffee sourcing and roasting.
Said Beegle, “Once we feel we are accomplishing these to the best of our ability, we are intent on expanding Alert’s reach as both a cafe and wholesale coffee source.”
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.