Crafting a Quality Coffee Culture
by Sabrina Sucato
Few things surpass the beauty of a freshly brewed morning cup of coffee.
Of course, not all brews are the same. A cup of sludge from the convenience store does not hold a flame to one that is made from quality, hand-roasted coffee beans. Unfortunately, the former tends to be the sad reality for most of caffeine seekers looking to jumpstart their days.
Yvette Naylor is here to end the reign of bad coffee. Naylor, 54, is the brain behind The Dutchess Coffee Company in Wingdale. With the help of her husband, Simon, she hopes to show locals that first-class coffee is not just a culinary dream.
After moving from New York City to Pawling in 2012, Naylor and her husband continued to commute to the Big Apple for work. Eventually, however, Naylor knew it was time to cut ties with the daily round trip on Metro-North.
“It’s a hard slog,” she admits.
When a friend in London, where Naylor previously resided, offered to sell his coffee roastery business to her, she knew she had found her new calling.
“I knew how much better freshly roasted coffee is,” she says. She remembered just how wonderful the coffee at her friend’s roastery was and recognized that the Hudson Valley needed something like it. She left her managerial position at the International Center of Photography in New York and began to pour her efforts into her fledgling business.
From Research to Roaster
Step one? Buy a roaster. She and Simon did their research and purchased an American-made machine from Idaho. They also attended a course on how to roast with that machine to ensure they mastered all the nuances of roasting before kicking the business into full gear.
With roaster metaphorically in hand, Naylor then began to scout for a spot to do her work. She selected the storefront in Wingdale because it was an ideal location to roast for what she had planned as an online and wholesale operation. She even got her father-in-law to design a logo and send it to her from the U.K. Unexpectedly, the logo added a new depth to Naylor’s full-bodied enterprise. “When I put the logo up on the window, people started to stop in thinking we’re a coffee shop,” she said. Instead of turning visitors away, she embraced the attention and met the demand by turning the outpost into a coffee shop and roastery.
Business has been at full brew ever since.
Today, Naylor maintains her commitment to providing only the best roasts to both Pawling area residents and out of town visitors. To do this, she purchases single-origin, 100% Arabica coffee and roasts the beans in small batches at her Wingdale shop. Although the beans themselves are not local, they do have a strong connection to local farmers, albeit from afar, something that Naylor researches before establishing a relationship with a farm. Her Burundi brew, for instance, comes from a women’s cooperative in a war torn region of Burundi.
“It’s more farm to table than you think,” she observed. In addition to hand-selecting coffee farmers, Naylor also makes it a point to know the growing region and plant variety behind all of her brews. Taking time to know the details is what allows her to soar above the competition.
“That’s what specialty coffee is,” she said. As a java expert, Naylor enjoys instructing others on the subtle, but significant variances in The Dutchess Coffee Company’s roasts. Just as flavors differ by origin region, so, too, can they change in taste depending on soil varieties and roasting procedures. Although the science of it all sounds intimidating, Naylor notes that her photography background aids her as she creates the perfect roast.
“It’s very similar to what I was doing at [The International Center of Photography] when I used to print,” she observes. Just as she had to control the temperature of the lab and the water when she was developing photos, she similarly must keep the roasting room at a controlled temperature when she prepares the beans. It takes her approximately 12 to 15 minutes to roast a batch, a process that she reserves for Mondays through Wednesdays when the store is closed.
Taste Is Everything
Even with the time-intensive requirements of small batch roasting, Naylor still looks to bigger and bolder developments. In addition to focusing on the wholesale end of business, she hopes to host a few live baking demonstrations at her shop.
The main event for the summer, however, is the Pawling farmers market. The Dutchess Coffee Company will return for its second year to sell hot coffee and bags of beans. This year, Naylor and Simon, who will man the table while Naylor runs the store, also plan to debut a cold brew. Unlike the iced coffee they offered last year, the cold brew will be stronger, smoother, and less acidic.
As for the local feedback, Naylor loves the immediate response that quality coffee evokes: “You get the instant reaction from the people who taste your coffee,” she says. People who sample her roasts for the first time are often surprised by how flavorful and rich they are compared to the standard chain store varieties.
“It’s not until you have them side by side until you notice the difference,” she notes.
It sounds like a taste test is in order.
LEARN MORE about The Dutchess Coffee Company at http://www.dutchesscoffee.com/.
VISIT The Dutchess Coffee Company Thursday – Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at 1465 Route 22, Wingdale, NY 12594.
GET IN TOUCH via phone at (914) 415-1553, or via email at email@example.com.