Josh Schmitt, who owns the coffee roasting business Banyan Coffee Co. in Bradenton with his wife Abbey, isn’t a fan of most flavored coffees. “Specialty coffee doesn’t need any additives,” he says.
But that doesn’t mean he’s averse to trying new ways to expand the flavors customers can get from Banyan beans. With this in mind, Banyan began selling cask-aged coffee beans that were used to make bourbon, rye, rum, tequila, and wine.
“It’s as close as I’m going to make it to flavored coffee,” says Schmitt.
To make the beans, Schmitt takes barrels from distilleries around Florida, drains them, and packs them with unroasted green coffee beans that then stay for two weeks to two months. The bean is “like a sponge,” says Schmitt. “He will absorb what’s in there.”
Once the beans have been there for the necessary time, Schmitt turns on his roaster and finishes them off. The resulting flavors vary depending on the type of cask and the length of time the beans have aged. A barrel bag of bourbon, for example, will carry the aroma of oak and vanilla, according to Schmitt, while a barrel bag of wine will be sweeter, but also woody.
Banyan currently obtains barrels from distillers like Loaded Cannon Distillery in Lakewood Ranch, Sugar Works Distillery in New Smyrna Beach, and Florida Cane Distillery in Tampa. Schmitt says cafes don’t have to be a ‘daily drinker’, but rather a ‘novelty’, something you might enjoy on weekends when you have more time to enjoy a cup, or something fun. to share with friends the next time you meet. Schmitt says specialty bean sales increase during the holidays, when people indulge more and look for gifts for friends and family.
The company offers free door-to-door delivery in the area and sets up shop at the Bradenton Town Center Public Market every Saturday. Schmitt says Banyan is working on establishing a permanent location that will include both a café and a roasting facility, but no details have been finalized.
“We’re looking to open a cafe,” says Schmitt. “It’s just a matter of when.”
For more information, visit the Banyan Coffee Co website.