By Hannah Curran, Editor-in-Chief
PINSON — The opening of a new café on Main Street in Pinson on February 7, 2022 is causing a stir.
Barking Bee Coffee is a freshly roasted coffee that has been around for three years and is not intimidating to customers like some cafes. Barking Bee Coffee offers different types of coffee, such as coffee from Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, Honduras (processed with honey), India (Malabar monsoon), Columbia-Decaf and Nicaragua- Decaf. If you want to take the coffee home, you can buy it in a two-ounce sample, then you can buy a 12-ounce bag.. Barking Bee Coffee also offers Buzz pods for Keurigs in 12, 16, 32, 48, and 64 pods.
Each type of coffee was purchased directly from the farmers who grew them, and many farmers are retired US military personnel and have returned to their home countries to help strengthen communities.
“We want people to know that coffee isn’t bitter, coffee isn’t gross,” said Heather Manning, owner of Barking Bee Coffee. “Coffees from different countries have these wonderful individual flavors that you should be able to taste and enjoy. You should never wince when you drink your coffee. So many people use cream and sugar because they hide that bitter taste. , and cafes just get a bad rap. Coffee doesn’t have to be bitter and we want people to drink good, freshly roasted coffee. That’s our whole goal.
Manning said she wanted the coffee to be “non-intimidating and fun,” and who could be intimidated by a Rottweiler with bee antennae on a caffeine buzz.
“MThe maiden name is Barksdale, so I stripped the bark off it, and we have two crazy Rottweilers still acting like they’re on a caffeine buzz,” Manning said. “The alliteration of the Barking Bee wrote itself, so we put the antenna on a cartoon Rottweiler that appears to be on the caffeine buzz and Barking Bee was born.”
Manning joked that people had asked if the cafe was for dogs, and she responded by saying she doesn’t recommend that you give your dog coffee, but she does recommend that you drink it.
“We get a lot of people who come in to talk just because of the mascot,” Manning said.
Pets are welcome on the Barking Bee Coffee Shop outdoor patio, but not allowed inside the store.
“WWe would absolutely love to have your dog on our patio,” Manning said. “Unfortunately the Board of Health has regulations regarding their presence inside the cafe.”
Before deciding to start his own coffee brand, Manning had been an accountant for 25 years before marrying her husband, Dan, who was in the military.
“WWe started to move, so I left [accounting] behind,” Manning said. “Then our last six years of military life, we were in DC, I knew we were going back to Alabama, it was our home, and I knew I didn’t want to go back into accounting anymore.”
Manning said she wanted to do something she loved. She couldn’t return to the life of an accountant after spending so much time away.
“They say always do what you love, and i love coffee, and i love to read,” Manning said. “I couldn’t make a living sitting on my couch reading books, so I decided to turn to coffee.
When she started researching what type of coffee she wanted to sell, she explained that she wanted people to remember the coffee. Manning said she would never forget her first cup of freshly roasted coffee, and that’s when she knew she had to make freshly roasted coffee.
She needed a place where her coffee would reach many people, and she decided the best place to do it was at farmers markets. As a result, she has been part of the Vestavia Hills Farmer’s Market, Gardendale Farmer’s Market, Pinson Farmer’s Market, and Trussville Farmer’s Market.
“WWe got our name out there and we built our business on farmers markets,” Manning said. “We’re certainly not giving up on that; we are always going to be at our farmers markets because we love those customers. I love being there and meeting people.
Manning said she didn’t want people to miss the chance to taste the freshly roasted coffee, so she made sure her tent was eye-catching.
“Green is my favorite color, so neon green, or lime green, I call it Barking Bee green now, really grabs your attention in a sea of white tents at farmers markets,” Manning said. “Green stands out, so we need to do everything we can to get your attention so we can talk coffee with you.”
The Barking Bee started out as a coffee roastery, and Manning said they consider this the heart of the business because she wanted people to enjoy “good, freshly roasted coffee in the store or at home”.
If you would like to become a Buzz Club member, you can sign up for home delivery on their website at barkingbeecoffee.com. Additionally, Manning explicitly answers the amount of coffee you receive each month by answering questions informing Barking Bee of your coffee needs.
“How they want it is their coffee, we’ll do it how you want it,” Manning said. “Then I will do all the roasting for our Buzz Club on the last day and the first day of the month. Then we make all our deliveries on the second and third day of the month. Every month freshly roasted coffee shows up at your doorstep, then we repeat every month until you no longer want to drink good coffee.